I moved back into a management role in November and inherited a direct that got very, very bad feedback in December from customers.  My boss (his former boss) gave him pretty hard feedback at a meeting with the three of us when I took over.  But the direct mostly argued or said "whatever".  Now this direct has found a new group and was supposed to transfer but HR is stopping it until we do the PIP.  My boss says just to try to get him through and let the other group have him.


How tough should I be on evaluating the PIP?  The potential boss has already said he's okay with him and has known him for there are no surprises there and the direct doesn't have much incentive to improve...except to get past this.  BUT if he doesn't transfer I have a real problem that is now harder.  BUT my boss says to get him out...

State:  (Lots of details...)

  • We're an internal software development organization. 
  • Direct is really smart technically but even as a peer I felt he was pretty rude/long-winded/hostile to people who disagreed with him.  He made some customers very, very angry which others have worked hard to smooth over.  He also missed deadlines all the time.  He's been with the company for years and let slide.
  • I have worked with HR to create a PIP that has two parts.  The first is all his deadlines & commitments.  The second will have the direct asking his customers where he could improve, creating a plan to address their issues, execute that plan and re-interview the customers.  HR has delayed starting this until the reviews can be this company wide calibration thing.
  • The direct says he gets great feedback from everyone - but the management I got feedback on.  Direct says "management" just doesn't understand...  Previous other boss told me this isn't true.
  • Direct was openly hostile to me - said I cost him his career, hundred's of thousands of dollars, don't understand software, ...  I told my boss and he said not to tell HR this...just try to get rid of him quickly....
  • To be honest, I do think he could work well in the other group.  No customers and he'd be more of a troubleshooter.  BUT I have found the other manager to go back on his promises before.  So, I am not confident he will actually keep his word and take the direct after the PIP.

jhack's picture

Hi there, Ms Sunshine....

First, a question:  what alternatives do you really have? 

Do the PIP.  Hold him to the same high standard you would have if he were not looking to transfer.  Be completely open with him about the situation (ie, that this process has is a prerequisite for his transfer, that HR is involved, that you really want him to improve and succeed, that you will help him succeed, etc).

Make sure that the expected behavior is clearly defined.  Make sure it has a definite end date.  Be calm and cool.  Frosty, as Mark would say. 

And make it clear that you aren't interested in or worried about the past.  It's only what happens now and in the future. 

Good luck. 

John Hack

AppleJack's picture
Training Badge

It sounds like you could approach this from the perspective of you and the direct have mutual goals. He wants to move to the new position, the PIP must be completed in order to do this. Let him know that you would like him to meet the PIP requirements so that you can help him attain his goal of moving to the other group/position. I think John Hack may have already said this above, but better than I have here.
Good luck.

jrosenau's picture


I agree with all the above.  In addition, think about your career.  HR will be involved in this PIP.  How will it look if you appear to be "going through the motions" for the sake of your boss?  I think you need to be to the letter on the PIP, both for his sake, yours, and the company.