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?