A Survival Guide to Getting Written Up
Over the past several months, Sam’s coworkers and supervisor have noticed that he’s been missing deadlines and his work includes careless mistakes. Alex, Sam’s supervisor, has counseled him informally in their regularly scheduled check-in sessions, and Sam typically responds that he’s doing the best he can but will try harder. On a few occasions, Alex has asked if there is any additional support Sam needs to meet the demands of his job.
Eventually, Sam’s poor performance increases his colleagues’ workload and begins to impact the morale of Alex’s entire team. With few other options left, Alex presents Sam with a formal written warning and a performance improvement plan (PIP).
How Sam reacts to the written warning and PIP will likely determine whether Sam becomes a productive team member or joins the unemployment rolls.
As a manager for over 20 years, I’ve had the unenviable task of writing up staff members. I’ve seen employees who respond in a positive manner that results in succeeding in their current position - - - and even getting promotions. And I’ve seen employees respond in counter-productive ways that fast-track them toward termination.
Here’s some thoughts and advice from an experienced manager about being written up:
It’s possible to come back from a written warning and become a high-performing team member with a bright future. But it requires having a positive attitude, a willingness to accept responsibility, and a genuine desire to change.
Disclaimer: The author is not a lawyer and is not providing legal advice. It is always important to know your rights, and you should consult an attorney if you want legal counsel on a written warning or performance improvement plan. Also consult an attorney if you feel you are being discriminated against or treated unfairly in any way.
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