S. Anne Marie Archer
My boss has put me on a performance improvement plan (PIP) what should I do?
Updated: Nov 28, 2022
This HR Tip will teach you what to do If your manager puts you on a performance improvement plan (PIP). Hint: You should be worried.
Generally, the PIP is a precursor to termination. While a lot of employers like to use a lot of flowery language and talk about using this tool to help employees get better, generally if human resources and your manager agree that you need to be put on a PIP it’s because they’re intending to terminate you.
What can you do?
If you believe the grounds upon which you are being placed on the PIP are incorrect, retaliatory, or otherwise wrongful, you must say so and you must say so strongly both verbally and in writing to your manager and human resources promptly.
If you believe the PIP is being used in a Discriminatory manner, you have to say so strongly both verbally and in writing to human resources and your manager.
This is not the time to speak softly and quietly.
Examples of where you should raise concerns about a PIP:
If all your performance reviews have been positive
If you’re just returning from manager approved FMLA, disability, or other sick leave
If there’s a documented pattern of discrimination and bullying in your workplace that has already been reported
One of the places where employees mess up is they fail to document and report discriminatory behavior at work in a timely manner or they fail to report it at all. Then when they are put on a PIP, they want to raise all their concerns. Frankly, that’s probably the worst time to raise the concerns because it appears that you are only raising them because your performance has been called into question.
The best time to raise concerns regarding discrimination at work, bullying, or other problematic behavior is right when they occur. They should also be documented in real-time. From the time you start a job, you should start a documentation journal. You should keep copious records of any problematic behavior that occurs in the workplace with dates times and names of the actors and witnesses. You should report these occurrences to human resources and your manager and ask that they be corrected. You should document when you make these requests and reports in the same journal.
Even if HR does absolutely nothing, and they probably will do absolutely nothing, the point is to document incidents, report them and keep a record.
Effectively documenting and reporting discrimination and other hostile and toxic activity at work positions you to counter inaccurate performance reviews and wrongful PIPs.
Emphasis though is on the word “effective“ if your documentation and reporting is not done correctly and effectively it will not necessarily help you and it may even hurt you.
This is why I created my 4-part hostile work environment escape strategy (HWEES) webinar series. It was created to ensure that employees would not just know what to do but how to do it effectively.
You can also purchase the HWEES documentation e-journal and start effectively documenting your work environment today.
Both of these tools will position you to effectively navigate a discriminatory hostile work environment and exit on your own terms.
But do understand, that if you are put on a PIP your employer is likely setting the table for your termination. So, if you have not raised any of the concerns you have regarding discrimination at work it’s important that you do it promptly and effectively. Time is likely not on your side.
If you need help navigating a discriminatory hostile work environment, or you want to get out of one, perhaps with some severance pay, Book a HWEES Discovery Call.
For more tips about navigating and escaping difficult HR situations,
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HR is not your enemy but they are definitely not your friend, I am.
I am the AntiHR, HRLady and I’m here to help.