Performance Improvement Plans Are Not A Punishment

Recently I was in London for our Happiness Leadership meetup. It was an amazing opportunity for us to both teach and learn from each other, as well as connect with each other in a way we honestly don’t have time or opportunity to do regularly. It was a really helpful and productive four days together and I left with lots of ideas, takeaways, and book recommendations I’m sure I’ll blog about in the near future.

During our meetup I gave a presentation to the group called “A Guide to Performance Improvement Plans”, an overview of how the process works at Automattic as well as things I’ve learned in my own experience. During my first experience with this process I found it a bit overwhelming because I was learning as I went, which added unnecessary stress that I hoped to save my fellow leads from.

Overall I received a lot of positive feedback about my presentation afterwards and it seemed to go well! At the end of the talk when I asked if anyone had questions, there was one in particular I felt would be great to share my response to in a blog post. The question was essentially:

Performance Improvement Plans are not intended as a punishment, but they still feel that way to many. Why do you feel they aren’t a punishment and how do we present it to team members that way?

The Future of Customer Support Depends on YOU

How many of you have heard people or companies refer to Customer Support as a cost center? How many of you have felt like your requests for more resources for your support teams weren’t valued or taken seriously? How many of you have heard that Customer Support isn’t a career?

I’m going to take a chance and say – all of you.

Go ahead… raise your hand… you know I’m right

Now, how many of you actually believe any of that? How many of you believe there is more to support teams than solving customer problems? How many of you see opportunities in your company you could have an impact on passing you by because you don’t have the time or resources to dedicate to it?

Yes Kristen, those of us active in the support community or who have been doing this work a few years know and believe all of this. So what? There’s only so much in our control!

While I agree that’s completely fair to say, I also think there is more we can do and I’m going to tell you how.