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I have recently resigned after finding a new job. But my employer has put me on a personal improvement plan, can they? Even though I have resigned?

I have previously been on a personal improvement plan. This was due to the company's inadequate training. Which passed. I raised issues of bullying. this was resolved. Buas I wasn't enjoying my work so I decided to leave. Found a job hand my notice then had a date for exit interview 2 months after I left the business. 2 days after my resignation I was called to a meeting which I thought it was about me leaving the company but it wasn't it was to put me on a Personal improvement plan? Why can they do this? up and coming holidays booked and approved. I will only be working for the company 7

Do I have to acknowledge and sign the Personal improvement plan?

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4 Answers 4

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To answer the direct question: Can they put you on a PIP? Absolutely.

To answer the more relevant question: Should they put you on a PIP? Probably not.

Here is how I would handle it - talk with your boss and basically say that you've handed in your notice and since you are leaving, it makes the purpose of the PIP null and void and that it would save everyone's time if they didn't bother with the extra paperwork for the last two weeks.

Of course, you will have to honor the implied end of your bargain and put in some effort in the last two weeks - but that's what I'd suggest you try.

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    "for the last two weeks" how do you know their notice period is two weeks?
    – nvoigt
    Apr 14, 2023 at 7:24
  • Well pip processes are often a quarter or 6 months. So whatever the case notice will generally be shorter. In addition, even if shorter making someone redundant usually means some payment so makes little sense. Apr 19, 2023 at 10:24
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You should conduct yourself as-if you have not resigned.

They can absolutely put you on a personal improvement plan. They can also fire you for the same reasons they would otherwise be able to fire you.

If they were unable to do so, the employees can literally conduct themselves very poorly and simply say: "Oh, sorry, I've already handed in my notice. You can't touch me."

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  • Do I have to sign the PIP?
    – user139543
    Apr 14, 2023 at 9:55
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    @user139543 There may be consequences for not signing the PIP. For instance, it may allow them to fire your with cause. Apr 14, 2023 at 14:40
  • At the same time employees can quit at any time for any reason. Things like 2 week notices are good manners, not legal requirements. Nothing stopping them from leaving early. Apr 16, 2023 at 0:19
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    @WorkingTitle There are many jurisdictions where notice period is required. And in addition, there may be contracts at play which require notice period. Apr 16, 2023 at 7:59
  • @user139543: "Signing the PIP" is a bit vague. Read carefully what exactly you're signing for. And given that you're in your last few days anyway, stalling is a reasonable option if there is small print to sign.
    – MSalters
    Apr 18, 2023 at 11:24
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For an employer to put you on a PIP when you have resigned makes absolutely no sense. The purpose of a PIP is to set standards for your work, where if you meet them you can stay working and if you don't they can terminate you for underperformance. Since you are leaving there is no possibility that you will stay.

The only possible reason for putting you on a PIP is so that they can make you leave early. (Possibly it may be an ego thing where they want to be able to say they fired you, to make it seem like nobody ever leaves the company voluntarily).

Start by making sure all communication has been done in writing. Do everything in writing in the future. Make sure you keep copies of all relevant communication somewhere where you can access it if you were suddenly shut out of the workplace communication system. If you are told anything orally ask for it in writing, and if they don't do that sent them an email repeating what they said to you.

Here is what you do:

  1. Go to your new company and tell them you may be able to leave earlier than you previously thought. Find out how soon you could start with them if you suddenly became free.
  2. Talk to HR about the PIP process. Find out how long it will take, whether the conditions are negotiable, if there is an appeal process. If it will take longer than the notice period ask if they really want to do it?
  3. Go to your boss and ask what outcome they are looking for from the PIP. What in their world would be the best thing that could happen for them? Point out the obvious, that your passing the PIP and staying is not going to happen. Ask explicitly if they would prefer you to leave earlier than your notice period? If your boss is uncooperative have the same conversation with HR. Remind them this is more work for your boss and for HR - do they really want to do all that extra work for something so pointless?
  4. If they say they would prefer you to leave earlier, tell them you can do that (assuming that the answer from step 1 was favourable). Negotiate a deal where you get to leave earlier and can start at the new company earlier (don't say anything about your new company start date in the negotiations.) Ideally negotiate a deal where you get a bit of extra money for agreeing to leave early -after all you are saving the company money by leaving early.

What I mean by the ideal deal is this: Let's say you were supposed to give 4 weeks notice. Let's say your new company is ready for you to start whenever. You negotiate a deal with your company that the notice period is cut to 1 week, and they pay you an extra week after that. The company saves 2 weeks of your pay, you get an extra week of pay, and you get to start at the new company sooner. It's a win win.

If they totally refuse to change the PIP, comply with it's terms if they don't involve any extra effort from you. Show up to PIP meetings, fill in the necessary forms for HR, don't take it too seriously. Push back against the terms of the PIP just like you would if you were staying. Don't accept a PIP that is harsher on you than on the others in your team who are staying, or which is unreasonable to achieve.

In all of this carry on doing your work to the same standard you've been doing it previously.

And to answer your question, yes they can. There is no law that prevents employers from doing pointless and stupid things. If there was the world would be a very different place.

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It depends.

The official answer is: Stay professional, perform as always. Participate in the personal improvement activities. Who knows, maybe there is something you haven’t noticed yet and it will make you a better person? (or not.)

On the contrary: Does the employer deserve your performance until the last mile? Has the company been loyal to you and paid you according to the value of your work in the market? Has the company taken advantage of the value of the labour you provided versus the compensation you received?

  1. If the company was fair to you, perform as always.
  2. If the company wasn’t fair to you, work to rule until you leave.

Also consider that your new employer might find out how you left your old employer.

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