Recently, the spouse of a friend got put on a PIP (Performance Improvement Plan). They were concerned about the way it was worded and reached out to me because they knew I had spent 25 years as an HR Leader before starting my own business. We sat down over a drink and I began reviewing the PIP. By the time I was finished, I was so appalled by how sloppy the PIP was that I was ready for another drink! It totally went against the philosophy of a PIP that I was taught. It also spoke to the motives of the supervisor in the opinion of this employee retention expert.
Some of the things that jumped out at me were:
- The timing of the PIP. It was interesting that the person receiving the PIP had only reported to their current boss for only 45 days. The new boss came in and only 45 days later the new boss moved the person into a PIP even though the person had not received any warnings about their performance from the new boss or the prior boss in their four years with the company.
- The PIP mentioned the need for “immediate” and “sustained improvement” or the person could receive discipline “up to and including discharge.” Put into the context of the entire letter, it smelled more like a setup to jump over any discipline and exit the person from the organization.
- The PIP alluded to “mistakes” the person had made yet in the 45 days the new boss was on the job they had never talked to the person about any mistakes.
- The PIP alluded to data entry errors and that the errors were not acceptable. Yet, the PIP in no place mentioned what was an “acceptable” number of errors nor had there ever been a standard set. Was it 98% error-free? Perhaps 99.9%? Who knows! How could the person possibly know the rate of success they needed to attain to remain employed? Franky, the PIP made it sound like no mistakes were the standard. If so, that is totally unrealistic as everyone makes mistakes particularly when you are doing repetitive data entry as this person is.
- The language of the PIP was poorly written and didn’t match up with the philosophy of a PIP which was mentioned in the handbook. Based on this, this employee retention trainer seriously wonders if HR was involved. If they were, I would question their expertise.
- Another person in the department also was put on a PIP the same day. Note: There are only six people in the department!
These are some of the things that jumped out at this employee recruitment expert. When organizations engage in actions such as this, it sends a horrible message to their employees. If the organization thinks this type of action will stay quiet, they are delusional. From an employee retention strategies standpoint, this PIP sends a horrible message. People need to be treated fairly, communicated properly, and talked to about their mistakes before jumping all the way to a PIP. This PIP smells like a smokescreen to me to exit one or both of these people without any sort of due process. Yes…this is an employment-at-will State so I guess the employer can do what it wants…even if it will destroy morale, tamp down employee engagement and send the worst possible message about how much the organization values employee retention. If you want to build employee retention…make sure your PIP’s aren’t a joke!
Remember…Give Your Employees C.R.A.P.® (Caring, Respect, Appreciation, and Praise) Why? Because C.R.A.P. Works!
Are concerned about the employee turnover you are experiencing? If so, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to get my Employee Retention Self-Audit. In the email, make the title “I’m Desperate” and I will get the self-audit out to you!