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Performance improvement plan - do I have any rights?(13 Posts)
I work in a management position, received a yearly review in August stating performance is ok in all areas.
Since then no other performance related conversations.
8 weeks ago my boss asked to talk to me with no prior warning and basically told me I am an underperforming manager, immediate improvement needed or I am going on a performance improvement plan. I questioned this as it came as a complete surprise but agreed to work on my performance in the areas where my boss said I was underperforming.
6 weeks later we had another conversation where I was told my performance had improved.
This morning my boss asked to speak with me and told me he has decided I am still underperforming and he will be putting me on a performance improvement plan shortly. Again this came as a surprise the meeting wasn’t scheduled previously I was completely unprepared.
No huge backstory my boss and I have quite different views, we have disagreed about employee and customer related issues but not to the point of falling out. I do feel that I am the only one who questions my boss as all other managers seem to be scared of him.
There was an issue we disagreed on at the end of last week...but I thought we came to an agreement. Now looking back it feels like he was annoyed I challenged him.
I have worked for the company for 15 years with no performance issues up until now.
Do I have any rights or just have to agree that I’m underperforming and go on the performance improvement plan? I love my job and don’t want to leave the company...
If you love your job and don’t want to leave then you will need to prove you have improved on the areas put in to the performance plan.
Do you have copies of your previous reviews and did your boss complete any paperwork at the last meeting that you can have a copy of where he said you had improved?
The officially performance management meetings should be tapped with minutes which will be helpful if you are confident you can improve.
Horrible situation to have to go through. Sounds like he doesn’t like you disagreeing with him. Sometimes I have to keep my mouth shut as the boss has the final say.
Ask for it in writing with clear examples and ways you can improve. Agree the wording and take it from there.
Poor you, this process is so demeaning, you have my complete empathy.
I would go all-out to deliver every scrap of evidence that you've complied with the process. Don't give them any reason to pick your performance apart. Document everything to within an inch of your life, send emails in writing with a weekly rundown of your progress in the individual ask list, seek out a mentor who has some influence and standing so their role in your improvements validates how seriously you are taking it.
Meanwhile, please please get your CV up to date and try to get another role in the organisation if that's possible, because this manager has probably already made the decision he doesn't want you in his crew, so even if you pass the PIP according to the HR criteria, he will be baying for your blood some other way.
Moving to a different dept/team will enable you to see past his toxic personality, towards someone who appreciates your efforts. You deserve a lot better.
Definitely take notes of all meeting from now on, and write up any retrospectively even if in bullet form.
You could plan towards lodging a grievance in the coming weeks, if he continues to make your life difficult, but you need to evidence you have done due diligence to the PIP first, to 'earn your stripes'.
Thanks for advice all, it's not a nice situation to be in as it has come completely out of the blue....I was unaware my and it does feel personal but of course as I don't have much in writing it would difficult to prove. I'm not keen on raising a grievance as I would have to work with my boss in
(Sorry poster too quick)
In future as I don't think he is going anywhere.
The relationship is broken but I don't want to damage it further.
I will make sure to document every conversation going further and over communicate what I'm doing to improve my performance in writing
Phone I have had to put people on PIPs and what you're describing doesn't sound at all like he's using this correctly. These plans are part of the company's performance management framework so get a copy of that, it should outline in what circumstances a person might be placed on such a plan.
Do you have an HR dept? If so I would seek clarification from them in terms of why you have been put on a PIP (and then seemingly off and then on again ) ie specifically what your targets are, which areas you have underperformed in and how those are measured.
Certainly in my experience, because the PIP is a formal process, HR are generally involved. Also, it lasts a lot longer than 6 weeks because your manager has to be able to monitor and measure improvement and be satisfied that it's consistent. At least in my experience.
Did he tell you specifically what had to be improved, what that improvement should look like and how he would measure it? Because it reads like he left you to it for 6 weeks and then said your performance had improved. At that time did he say or did you believe that was the end of it? Is the recent conversation a progress review or another PIP?
It does sound like he's using this to keep you in limbo to an extent. It's very odd that you were performing satisfactorily in August yet 6 months later you're apparently performing so poorly that this is warranted! How many performance reviews do you have per year? We're any issues flagged between August and being placed on the PIP?
Oh just to also say that it's very odd that somebody who has been performing satisfactorily for 15 years and even up to their last review should suddenly underperform to the point a PIP is required, without any issues being flagged between August review and Feb/March? I suppose it depends on your company and the management line to an extent but certainly it would raise some "red flags" where I work.
it's very odd that somebody who has been performing satisfactorily for 15 years and even up to their last review should suddenly underperform to the point a PIP is required, without any issues being flagged between August review and Feb/March?
It is likely because phone123 hasn't reported to this manager for the duration of their 15 year service history with the company. A new manager coming into the business area, might take a dislike to an existing staff member or want to bring in their own team member and they use the PIP process to 'manage them out'.
It's abuse of a system that ought to be about supporting the employee in specific aspects of performance but often there's a hidden agenda. I'm not saying this is definitely the case as we don't have the specific circumstances here, but it is disturbingly common,
Thanks again for responses, they are really helping to gain some perspective.
In response to some of the questions - nothing was raised in between August till about 8 weeks ago.
The conversation was more about the things I hadn’t done in between August and now. I was unaware I was meant to do some of the things discussed for example (this is a made up example) boss said in October we shouldn’t allow staff drinking coffee while working. This was a 2 minute conversation. I thought this was just one of his ideas he is considering to implement. However I’m now being held accountable that this hasn’t been implemented and staff are still drinking coffee while working.
I questioned this and said that he hadn’t been specific enough, questioned why some of the things weren’t raised at the time as they could have been fixed but I didn’t really get a response...
I don’t feel like I can go to HR as boss has friends in HR so I would dig myself a bigger hole.
I think the underlying problem is that boss is getting pressure about our team’s results...
Some good points in this thread on how I can move forward with documenting conversations and over delivering on what is expected. I will also make sure I am given specific and measurable goals to work on and I’ll ask how I’m expected to achieve those goals.
They also need to agree with you (not impose) the duration of the PIP review period. Say for example you have a preapproved week's leave in 3 weeks time, they need to allow for that, and extend the review by an additional week (elapsed time).
Also you need to agree some interim review meetings. If the total review is say 8 weeks, you may think it's helpful to have a checkin after 2 weeks, 4 weeks, 6 weeks, then the final meeting at 8 weeks. This will put him on the spot, and if he starts making stuff up, you can call him on it.
It's typical for people like this to rewrite history, thinking that a single innocuous comment equals them saying you're on the hook to achieve some miracle or another, then tell you you've failed, even though you didn't know you owned the action.
No manager I've ever had worth their salt has ever done that to me, but a couple of bad ones have (they failings went far wider, but it's a common theme).
Thank you daisy it’s a good point about the check in meetings every couple of weeks. It means he would have to tell me almost in the moment if he felt my performance isn’t adequate - I can then make sure I improve and he doesn’t end up bottling up all the negative feedback till the final meeting.