Problem: I have a high performing person on my team who has a terrible attitude and even threatened me (which he denies to HR) and I have been told to put him on a PIP. How do you work with someone in this case and how do PIPs work for attitudes?
Background: I inherited a high performing user with a terrible attitude over 3 years ago. Although his attitude was manageable when he first started on my team, I still mentioned the attitude in his 3 reviews and that there was an expectation that he would improve. This was not a surprise to him as I had multiple discussions about his negativity throughout the year.
This year things got much worse due to two interactions where he showed out right insubordination to the management team and when meeting with me to discuss, he spent an hour telling me how terrible a manager I am and to make things worse, at one point said, "I would have punched you out, had I been in the office when you sent that." He works on a remote site so luckily I don't have to find out if this was purely rhetoric or not, but regardless it is a threat.
I discussed with HR and was told that it is his word against mine as far as the threat and he said it didn't happen. So they asked me to put together a detail list of interactions that I had with him over the past 3 years that demonstrated the bad attitude. I had been keeping track of all one on ones and discussion points and so this was practically complete. It included 14 incidences in 3 years, along with supporting emails from him that demonstrated his contempt for me and the company in general.
Once HR in the remote location reviewed the information they said he will need a PIP (3 months) and this is where I need some help. I suspect he will fix his attitude, with me, but as I'm in a different location I can't judge how he is on a daily basis. Further I'm not even sure how to would judge attitude with a SMART objective, as it isn't measurable. To be honest I'm not sure I wouldn't be biased either way at this point.