the past few years, since I began using this weekly blog to share stories about
sales and sales management, I have been receiving numerous questions from
readers including my own clients. Over the next several months I am going to
use my weekly ramblings to post one reader question with my answer. Please note
– my answers are based on my personal and professional experiences and in no
way reflect my company or specific clients.
Q: Do you believe an employee can make
it through a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) and become an active member of
their sales organization?
A: Absolutely, I do. I recently answered
a question about a ‘B’ sales person becoming an ‘A’ player. They can make the
transition if they have the will and desire to become a top performer. The same
can be said for a sales person placed on a PIP. If they have what it takes, the
determination to learn from their mistakes, learn from those that have gone
before them, and learn from their peers, then yes they can get through the PIP
and become a key member of their organization.
Employees, sales or otherwise, who have
been placed on a PIP more times than not believe they are being singled out and
set up for failure or ultimately dismissal. That is not the goal of a
Performance Improvement Plan. C’mon, why do you think it’s called an
Improvement Plan…we want the employee to improve. We, the managers, are laying
out the plans for the employee to improve. The employee needs to step up and
make it happen. The other thing I wish employees could grasp as a concept – it
costs an employer more to recruit, interview, hire and train a new sales person
than it does to retain one. If the employee can step up their game, learn from
the PIP, and ultimately become a contributing member of their team, they have
become valuable to their employer. Unfortunately, many employees only see the
PIP as a step to their firing. They are misguided and fail because they don’t
believe the employer has the best intent behind the PIP.
Employees on a PIP need to put their
trust in the PIP, improve as it is defined, and then become a better employee.
Everyone wins in this situation.