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My Friend is on PIP and at the edge of termination. Need advice!

Posted on 2011-03-02
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11

My friend is on PIP (Personal improvement program) of his company and is at the edge of termination with in a month. So i need advice to settle this issue,

Reason for PIP is his under performance. (not meeting the deadlines)

Reason for the under performance of the employee is :

Reason 1:

Employees "team lead" is getting "rude" with the employee for minor issues and it reduces the confidence of employee to work on maximum efficiency.

Reason 2:

All employees of the company talks in regional language, as a Multi national company employees are supposed to talk in "English". As the employee is not fit to the regional language that they are speaking he cannot perform well in understand things quickly.

Reason 3:

Not behaving equally, As he( Person A) is in the team of 4 ( Person A,B,C,D ) with a team lead  ( Person B) and the project manager ( Person D) is working remotely. Team lead ( Person B) treats my friend unequally, like talking to the other employee ( Person C) with all time, taking him ( Person C)  for coffee, or asking other employee to take interview to recruit employees to his team by ignoring my friend ( Person A) .

NB: Person B is performing well.

What legal actions my friend can take? if yes what evidences he has to collect before terminating from the company?

How he can have a compromise with the company to settle everything ?


My friend has total 4 years experience in IT industry as software engineer.
He is in current company for 10 months.

Performance Review of my friend in previous company was average.

But first performance review of candidate of present company of my friend was bad, at this point of time my friend has raised all the above concerns. Reason A in personal meeting and Reason B in team meeting. Reason C is not yet disclosed.

For this reason, my friend has been put in PIP.

Previous history of the team:

One person ( having 5 year experience) quit the team within 6 months of joining and my friend is the replacement for him.Reason for quitting as he is saying is his previous employer is calling back.

Please advice ! And like to know what is the after effects of termination.

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Question by:PeteEngineer
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Expert Comment

by:Rartemass
ID: 35024266
First off I suggest you get your friend to speak with HR or a manager outside of the team. If he feels discriminated against within the team then he needs to get a review from an outside source. Follow the correct protocol set out for the company in regards to this.

I ask the question of why your friend was hired in the first place if language was a barrier? At the interview the managers should have noticed any language issues that would impact workload, and moved to another candidate if a problem.

The reasons you list are from one point of view. Reason 3 about being treated unequally can be a false perception. Has your friend brought this up with his manager?
From the reasons you provide it seems you have only half the story. For it to get to a possible termination, something must have been said before this point. In 10 months of employment, if your friend has had constant sub-standard performance he would have been brought in for talks months ago. How is performance measured. You mentioned not meeting deadlines. Is that the only metric to test performance? Has he improved in the 10 months he has been there, gotten worse, or stayed consistent? This is the most important evidence you can obtain.
If your friend agreed to meet certain levels of performance, and is missing them, then management has every right to terminate employment.

Has the manager attempted to improve performance? If yes what did he implement? Were language classes offered, if yes did your friend attend? Has anyone offered assistance to your friend to improve anything in regards to his understanding or skills, if yes did he take up their offer?

I'm asking these questions as if you file for wrongful termination then the lawyers will ask similar things. If no offer for assistance was provided, and evidence of inequality in regards to treatment by managers is available, then your friend may have a case. If management have tried to improve performance and either your friend didn't accept it or continued to perform poorly, then he won't have any recourse.

The effects of termination is that your friend will no longer have a job and will need to look elsewhere. Future employers may ask why your friend was terminated, which will harm his employment chances. If he is in the country on a work visa and no longer has a job, then he may get deported.

My advice is to get all information from both sides and suggest a method of improving performance and treatment from managers. This should involve HR and possibly a 3rd party (manager from an unrelated team). If this has already been done and your friend cannot improve sufficiently in a month, then I suggest you assist your friend in looking for another job.
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Author Comment

by:PeteEngineer
ID: 35029188
First off I suggest you get your friend to speak with HR or a manager outside of the team.

< I never spoke to the HR of the team , because we are a product company and we have only 28 employees in our country only one office that is our office, so HR are only two and don't have any value to the company, hence i said it to my PM >

If he feels discriminated against within the team then he needs to get a review from an outside source. Follow the correct protocol set out for the company in regards to this.<where i can find this? in employee handbook?>


I ask the question of why your friend was hired in the first place if language was a barrier? At the interview the managers should have noticed any language issues that would impact workload, and moved to another candidate if a problem. < Since, there are only 28 people , and all are educated as software engineers, they all know English  and they are frequently communicate with clients in on-site(US) and we are in offshore, i don't think is significant to test the regional languages while interview >

The reasons you list are from one point of view. Reason 3 about being treated unequally can be a false perception. Has your friend brought this up with his manager? < No reason 3 is not yet been disclosed so that's not an issue>

From the reasons you provide it seems you have only half the story. For it to get to a possible termination, something must have been said before this point.< No, here in the review one of the best condiducture that the PM mentioned about my friend is his attitude is marvelous and he is very friendly - so too much friendly is a problem ? >

 In 10 months of employment, if your friend has had constant sub-standard performance he would have been brought in for talks months ago. (He has been always advised by the PM that there is no need to jump the company for the last 10 months ..sunddeny he came up with the decision that the person is total under peformer, but he has been frequently questioned by mails why he is constantly missing deadlines)
.
How is performance measured. You mentioned not meeting deadlines. Is that the only metric to test performance? Has he improved in the 10 months he has been there, gotten worse, or stayed consistent? This is the most important evidence you can obtain.

<5 point scale >
Personal management - meeting deadlines - he limit in this
Technical knowledge - he limit in this
Attitude - he is good in this
Patience - he is good in this
proper Mail updates and intimations -he limit in this
>

If your friend agreed to meet certain levels of performance, and is missing them, then management has every right to terminate employment.

Has the manager attempted to improve performance? If yes what did he implement?
<PIP>
 Were language classes offered,<no language classess> if yes did your friend attend? Has anyone offered assistance to your friend to improve anything in regards to his understanding or skills, if yes did he take up their offer? <yes, he is utilizing it >

I'm asking these questions as if you file for wrongful termination then the lawyers will ask similar things. If no offer for assistance was provided, and evidence of inequality in regards to treatment by managers is available, then your friend may have a case. If management have tried to improve performance and either your friend didn't accept it or continued to perform poorly, then he won't have any recourse.

The effects of termination is that your friend will no longer have a job and will need to look elsewhere. Future employers may ask why your friend was terminated, which will harm his employment chances. If he is in the country on a work visa and no longer has a job, then he may get deported.

My advice is to get all information from both sides and suggest a method of improving performance and treatment from managers. This should involve HR and possibly a 3rd party (manager from an unrelated team). If this has already been done and your friend cannot improve sufficiently in a month, then I suggest you assist your friend in looking for another job.

 
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Expert Comment

by:Rartemass
ID: 35031419
With the missing deadlines, is the only reason because of the language issue (reason 2), or are there other factors? Does you friend have a high work load? Is there sufficient time allocated when the deadline was set? Who sets the deadline?
What does your friend do on a average work day? I'm not asking for a step by step here, I'm after a list like the following: Arrive, work, 10 minute coffee break, work, lunch, surf internet 45 minutes, work, home.
I'm not suggesting your friend slacks off, but if he isn't managing his time well it would impact performance.

I'm going to go back and make this a simple answer.
What evidence is best? Show that the workload is too high and deadlines are not realistic. (Hard to do if other workers with same workload are managing).

What can your friend do legally? Most companies require three performance issues to be raised prior to termination. This is country based so it depends on where the office is as to whether this applies. Do you have a union rep your friend can talk to? Even if he isn't a part of the union they can assist.
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Author Comment

by:PeteEngineer
ID: 35033200
With the missing deadlines, is the only reason because of the language issue (reason 2)
<no language is not only the issue ,his technical ability is not meeting his experiece>
, or are there other factors?
Does you friend have a high work load?
yes - everyone have - 3 members in our team.

Is there sufficient time allocated when the deadline was set?
No
 
Who sets the deadline?
on site guys ! we are in offshore
What does your friend do on a average work day? I'm not asking for a step by step here, I'm after a list like the following: Arrive, work, 10 minute coffee break, work, lunch, surf internet 45 minutes, work, home.

Arrive at work 10 am ,5 min coffee at 11, 20 min lunch, no browsing on unofficial things ,may be g mail he used to check,he very rarely speak to other colleagues, he used to stare into monitor all the time, he go home by 8 pm or 9 pm every day.


I'm not suggesting your friend slacks off, but if he isn't managing his time well it would impact performance.<yea,may be, but only for this reason does employer can throw out an employee >

I'm going to go back and make this a simple answer.

What evidence is best? Show that the workload is too high and deadlines are not realistic. (Hard to do if other workers with same workload are managing).
<how i can show? what i can give as a proof?>

What can your friend do legally?
<i dont know>
< Most companies require three performance issues to be raised prior to termination.
<Does the 5 point scale is enough for that which is used as a metric for three reasons?
<5 point scale >
Personal management - meeting deadlines - he limit in this
Technical knowledge - he limit in this
Attitude - he is good in this
Patience - he is good in this
proper Mail updates and intimations -he limit in this
>
 This is country based so it depends on where the office is as to whether this applies.
<India,bangalore city>

Do you have a union rep your friend can talk to? Even if he isn't a part of the union they can assist.
<no union>
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Expert Comment

by:Rartemass
ID: 35033516
From the information you have provided, it seems the managers have high expectations that are verging on unrealistic.
The typical day of your friend, is that typical of everyone else in the team as well?
Do other team members put in more work time each day to get more done? Do they feel stressed from the deadlines?
If the rest of the team are keeping to the deadlines, what is different about the tasks for your friend that make it more difficult or longer to complete? Evidence of this nature would assist his case. Basically I think he will need the team to back him up in that the deadlines etc are unrealistic for all staff, but his are worse than the norm.

Evidence is to go through previous work that is similar to what he is doing now, preferably completed by another team member. Assuming the time it took to complete is longer than the time allotted to your friend, then you have evidence that it is an unrealistic deadline.
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LVL 8

Author Comment

by:PeteEngineer
ID: 35038261

The typical day of your friend, is that typical of everyone else in the team as well?
Do other team members put in more work time each day to get more done? Do they feel stressed from the deadlines?

<All have pressure,but my friends team is at ultimate pressure.>

If the rest of the team are keeping to the deadlines, what is different about the tasks for your friend that make it more difficult or longer to complete?

<Others are doing IT hosting,QA jobs, my friend is doing software development.>



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LVL 18

Expert Comment

by:Rartemass
ID: 35047684
Is there someone else from another team that is doing software development?
To collect evidence of the deadlines etc being too strict you need a comparison with someone else that is doing a similar job and having the same issues.
As for the team, if everyone is under a lot of pressure then collecting evidence of a high workload and not enough time do complete them could be used to ask for additional team members to be provided.
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by:PeteEngineer
ID: 35063864
Is there someone else from another team that is doing software development?
no

To collect evidence of the deadlines etc being too strict you need a comparison with someone else that is doing a similar job and having the same issues.

i have a team member doing similar job, but he is not having above three issues.
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Expert Comment

by:Rartemass
ID: 35075036
Then the question to ask is what is the other team member doing that is enabling him to complete the work, and get your friend to do the same.
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Author Comment

by:PeteEngineer
ID: 35116016
He is getting support from the team lead ,but my friend is made confused and miss leaded  by the same team lead ... while work...  my friend is new to the project he couldn't confirm that he is doing right or wrong.

An instance :

My friend is developing an app to calculate tax.. he took the formula from existing app which already have a calculation, he ask to his team lead to confirm the tables where the tax comes from ... team lead comes and say him that tax calculation is entirely wrong and he dont know how to even a simple calculation... he is not even aggreeing to see the result of the formula ... he is saying wrong table and columns to fetch the tax values ...after developing ..... all problems comes to my friend ... entire app is screwed up...


How he can take up this situation?
 

 
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Accepted Solution

by:
Rartemass earned 500 total points
ID: 35134307
That instance is part of the evidence you will need.
Get all of those situations and explain them to the people in charge.
This sounds like an issue with the team lead and should be discussed with the team leader's boss.
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