How to Survive Performance Improvement Plans

It can be a shock to receive a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP), especially if you don’t know why it was placed on your plate. It’s usually not surprising in most cases. It is usually caused by an employee’s struggles in their job or other issues at work.

Don’t panic if you find yourself in a PIP situation. You’ll find out how to survive, and even thrive in a Performance Improvement Plan.

If you decide that the job is not for you, here are some bonus tips to help you find your dream job.

Let’s discuss how to best respond to a Performance Improvement Plan.

What is a Performance Improvement Plan?

A PIP is a set or objectives that an employee is given to help them grow in their job. Employers use it to help their employees better fulfill the job responsibilities.

Employers often outline the areas that need to be improved in employees’ skill sets and experiences during a PIP. The employee will then be assessed to determine if they have made any improvements.

Keep reading if you have to take one.

Why do managers use PIPs?

Managers can create PIPs for employees to improve their work and boost efficiency. This has an illuminating effect on the rest of the company.

This clarity gives the employee the ability to see exactly what they need in order to grow and improve.

What to do when you are placed on a Performance Improvement Plan

It can be a bit depressing to be told how much you must improve by someone who is putting you on a plan. It is possible to be up all night wondering, “Am I going get fired?” Do I need to look for a new job?

Honestly, maybe. You could be right. Be calm, though. It’s possible that your company is invested in your success and wants to keep you there.

It’s obvious that you must take your PIP seriously. There is no room for errors or not meeting the goals. Here’s how to reply to a PIP if you want to impress your manager and keep them happy.

Don’t panic

Panic can be your first reaction when you are placed on a PIP. It is possible to be concerned about your job security, your ability to disappoint people or your reputation as a bad employee.

There are many reasons someone could be placed on a PIP. You might not be the only one who is put on a PIP. Instead, it could be about the company taking over.

You should be focusing on what you can do next, and what you have control over. Your manager may be watching you and trying to gauge how you respond. It is important that your response be professional.

You won’t be fired if you have a PIP. It’s actually a sign that the company is trying to improve your performance. They want to support you in your role and not fire you. Try to see it through a positive lens and take deep breaths.

Positive attitude is key

You should be professional and calm, no matter what the employer’s plans are. It is a chance to improve your skills and learn from others, not a punishment.

Your attitude can tell a lot about your employer. This is a positive sign if you are open to their suggestions. If they don’t, then they may consider alternatives such as hiring another person.

Ask for help

It’s time for you to seek out help if you aren’t as proficient or knowledgeable in certain areas. For guidance and advice, ask your manager, coworkers, or mentors.

There are always areas to improve if you have been placed on a PIP. You can improve your performance by setting up weekly check-ins or asking your boss for feedback. Be the first person to suggest this if you want to make progress. This will demonstrate that you are open to learning and committed to improvement.

You are in control of your own progress

You must take responsibility for your progress and be committed to it. While your manager might be responsible for the PIP, it is up to you to carry out.

Take a good look at the plan and ask any questions you may have. We did not say “question”, but argue. It is important to remain on their side.

Be interested in what is being said. Make suggestions for ways you could improve. Everybody can do more. Be honest about your shortcomings and open to learning from them.

You can also ask for suggestions and inquire about the next steps, whether it’s weekly check-ins of monthly one-on-ones. It is important to demonstrate that you take this seriously and are determined to make progress. This will ease any concerns the manager may have about you staying on the payroll.

Identify the causes

Something went wrong somewhere along the way. It’s not always easy to know what went wrong or when. You were already qualified and experienced when you applied for the job. Where is the gap?

What if your job title changed but you didn’t receive any additional training? Are the expectations of your manager changing but you have not had an open discussion about it? Do you have personal circumstances that are affecting your work performance

It is important to take the time to understand why you are getting a PIP. It’s not about pointing fingers and blaming others. This is more about recognizing the cause of the problem and retracing your steps. This will help you and your manager make a better decision about next steps.

Do not go the extra mile.

Doing just a little more than the rest says, “I take this seriously”.

We spoke with Pam Slim, author Escape From Cubicle Nation about how you can be an asset to your job. We heard her amazing story about how she did it beyond the call of duty to excel at her previous job. Here is what she had to share:

“I would rise early to meet the traders at the floor. I would watch what they did, and then go to lunch with those who were the most experienced in giving financial advice. They were like industry leaders. Because I was curious and because I wanted to understand their work .”

Because she knew that she could gain valuable information from experts and coworkers, she went out of her way.

This is a great strategy that we recommend. You should also consider listening to podcasts and books by industry leaders, as you can benefit from their decades of experience.

Remember: Being great at your job does not have to be boring. Learning how to do your job better is possible if you love what you do. It’s especially fun if you know that it will be a valuable asset to your company (and well worth the extra).

It’s often simple acts such as these that can help you get ahead. Most people don’t bother. Managers want to see people who are willing to invest their time in learning and improving their experience.

Before they ask, answer questions

Imagine yourself at work. Everything seems great. Your boss then calls you and begins to tell you everything that you did wrong.

Absolute nightmare. Do what the top performers do to avoid it.

Be proactive. Keep your boss and manager informed about where your projects are. Do not wait for your boss or manager to ask questions. If you are certain that a question will be asked soon, tell them so they can know the answer.

You could ask your supervisor for an “End of Day Report” where you tell him what you did and what you have in store for tomorrow. This could look like this:

This email lets your supervisor know that you are on the right track.

The second is to ask for feedback. Ask your boss what they think about the situation and what they would like to see improved.

Although it may seem uncomfortable to ask for feedback, it is extremely valuable. Continuously receiving and implementing feedback will help you improve your job. This skill is what hiring managers look for and is rare.

It is also a great way for managers to see that you are committed to improving things.

If things don’t go according to plan, look elsewhere

If all else fails and you don’t see improvement, you have another option: look elsewhere.

While you might do your best to fix the problem with a PIP (personal injury protection), sometimes it’s just not possible. You can always look for another job if the job isn’t right for you.

It is still worth working to improve and make progress. This will keep your managers satisfied and you can also leave on positive terms (especially if they need to refer you).

Don’t try to find a job that will replace your current one. It’s possible to end up back in the same place you were before. Instead, think smart and create a plan for finding the perfect job next time.

Continue reading to learn simple tips on how to do this.

What to do if your PIP isn’t working out? How to find a job that you love

Sometimes things don’t go as we expect. There’s no shame when you walk away, regardless of whether the blame falls on your shoulders, the manager, the company, or someone else.

Many people accept jobs only to find out months later or even years later that they are not the right fit. All of us have been there.

You might consider changing your mind if you feel the job is not for you.

You don’t have to be a Performance Improvement Plan participant in order to be a good employee. This job may not be the right one for you. You’re better looking for a job which challenges you and makes you more money.

Problem is, not many people are able to find such a job.

People use Indeed and LinkedIn to send out two dozen resumes within a weekend. These are jobs that may not be right for them. Then they wait for a response (which it never does).

The top performers are different. They are able to identify the job and company they desire. To keep them informed of new opportunities, they will even send out invites to their friends and coworkers.

High-performing people have more clarity about what they want and how to get it. This is something most people struggle with when it involves the daunting job search.