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I've been with the company 6 months. Never received training, no one on one meetings and no feedback. Had a year end review and told I was being put on a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP). How can this be?

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    This is a question you should ask your manager, not random strangers on the Internet.
    – Hilmar
    Jan 30, 2016 at 6:22
  • Lets assume you have have a successful PIP (i.e. keep the job). It will always be over your head. Best bet is to play along and find another job. PIP will not be mentioned in a reference as it is informal.
    – Ed Heal
    Jan 30, 2016 at 12:10

3 Answers 3

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It can be because they don't think you were performing as well as you should have. Maybe you should have been more actively seeking training and feedback, or maybe you got feedback but didn't recognize it as such; we have no way of knowing.

The important question now is not "how can this be" but "can this be corrected before you lose the job." Who's at fault doesn't matter right now; what does matter is finding out what they need from you and delivering it.

The good news, such as it is, is that a PIP usually makes the manager responsible for giving you the needed guidance and sets a very specific list of goals you need to meet. So talk to your manager, understand exactly what is being asked if you, and execute the plan, preferably overachieving. If that means you need something, talk to your manager about how you get it.

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    The bad news is that the outcome of a PIP is usually a foregone conclusion.
    – Eric
    Jan 30, 2016 at 12:37
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    @Eric - not necessarily, as a manager I've been involved with 5 or 6 PIPs at various companies, none has resulted in a firing (or the person resigning before they were) . Jan 30, 2016 at 16:25
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Some basic assumptions:

  1. Knowing about said PIP means you have been presented it and most likely signed it unless you know how you handle them (I've never heard of a manager saying "Oh yeah, tomorrow we will go over your PIP" or having a manager give you time to think it over when presented it, thus either giving you prep time). So, it is assumed to have been signed by you.
  2. You do not recall getting any reviews, feedback, or training within your 6 months of employment.
  3. You are confused and shaken in trust of your current employer.
  4. ALL legal questions and concerns should be raised to your attorney (if you want to take it that far) and not by us or the internet.

Short answer: Take some time and carefully consider things and decide if it is worth staying/improving or if you want to move onto another employer.

Long answer:

Let me add that playing the "my attorney will need to review this" card will NEVER work out to your advantage (it is really messy).

Receiving a PIP should be followed by asking yourself some hard questions such as:

  • Are the stated issues my fault and do I need to fix these issues?
  • How is my communication and relationship with my manager? Can I go to him/her for clarity about my job?
  • What is "the norm" in the company with PIP's, turnover, etc? Is documenting even the most informal discussion a regular occurrence or not?
  • Is this company stable, do I want to stay here? Is this helpful to my career (ie it is not just a "job" for a pay check)?
  • Is "the writing on the wall" for my job or the company overall?

There are many others as well and you should answer them all truthfully as best you can. Remember during all of this, stay calm and relax and carefully think everything over. You have been at this company 6 months, that is long enough to gauge several aspects about the company (turnover rates, PIP =? Fired, average employee longevity, department stability, reviews/training, employee satisfaction, "documentation" norms (ie EVERYTHING is documented vs informal), etc). Consider how "this" company does things and if you are comfortable with that. Sometimes, it is better to just go with the flow and get out of dodge while you still can.

Also, consider that you did not receive a 90-day or 3 month review which, from the considerable experience of my friends, colleagues, managers, etc and my own experience, is VERY unusual. RARELY have I ever heard of companies not giving those reviews, even if very informal. Though this time period could have been specified as 6 months in a contract, offer letter, or other new hire documents. You should know the norm with the company. You could request copies of your employee file (which you can do without your manager knowing about) for review (you could state that it is for tax reasons and you just want to make sure everything is in order).

Worst case scenario, you take all of this as a learning experience and move on to another job. Remember, it is just a job at the end of the day and if you truly are a horrible employee they would have fired you a while ago. This might be the informal way of saying "start looking".

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Start looking for a new job, a Performance Improvement Plan is usually a sign that you will eventually be let go. As to the rest, there is no way of knowing, your 'real' review may have just been a conversation between someone in your office and HR, and on the strength of that it was decided no formal review was necessary.

This is a failing on the part of your manager, not you, it's their job to make sure you're productive, get training etc,. Do NOT expect them to admit this at this point and back you up.

At this stage your best option is to start job searching.

It's best NOT to sign a PIP, here's a link with some thoughts on it click me but the gist of it is that by signing you're basically agreeing (in a legal sense) that you're an underperforming employee. This takes any possibility of others taking partial or full responsibility for the fact you received no training or feedback etc,.

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  • Have to disagree re not trying. I've experienced PIP as beareaucratic stupidity. Read the PIP, discuss your concerns about it with your manager, then decide if it's something you can sign -- remembering that not signing it may not be any safer than signing it even if you do disagree with it. And remember that you can job-hunt and work on the PIP; it doesn't have to be either/or.
    – keshlam
    Jan 30, 2016 at 4:59
  • The manager is the one responsible for it getting to a PIP, relying on them to help you is not a great idea. However I will delete the last part of my answer because on reflection it seems the OP has already agreed to the PIP.
    – Kilisi
    Jan 30, 2016 at 5:00
  • Not always, @kilisi. Sometimes the manager starts this without undestanding the implications. Sometimes they have been misdirected by someone in HR with their own weird agenda. Sometmes it's an attempt to trim headcount that's been forced upon the managers and they'd rather see you succeed. I've seen cases of these; they aren't just hypothetical. Talk to the manager, read the PIP, listen hard for subtexts, then decide what you're going to do about it. Meanwhile keep a paper trail, and if in some cases (not this one?) consider putting an employment lawyer on retainer.
    – keshlam
    Jan 30, 2016 at 5:08
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    I'm not sure I agree with blanket "never sign a PIP" advice. Alison Green's 'ask a manager' blog posts a counter-point to your link on not signing it that I think is useful - askamanager.org/2014/01/…
    – Rob Moir
    Jan 30, 2016 at 10:47
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    Not signing a PIP is probably tantamount to refusing to cooperate with the process, which is much more likely to get you fired, and fired with cause. Jan 30, 2016 at 20:56

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