Was firing the best option here?

I watched a situation at a friend’s company where there was a junior employee that got put on a PIP but found a new job before they could fire her.

What had happened was in the first 2-3 years or so her boss was apparently super easy going and didn’t assign her work that was as challenging or career-developing as the work that was being assigned to people who were similar to her level but on different teams. So she got good reviews and was promoted and after she switched teams her work quality was not up to expectations and so she was placed on a PIP. By then the boss who had put her up for promotion had left the firm so she had no backers.

My friend had the job of trying to get her out of it - she worked hard but there just wasn’t enough time to ‘catch-up’ to where she should have been. There were no behavioral/work ethic issues, she was just too far behind compared to what they were paying her so she was on the path to being fired.

Was this really the best option here? From my perspective this was more of a management screw-up, but I would suppose there may be bureaucratic inflexibility as far as being able to apologize for an ‘accidental promotion’ or being able to give the employee a longer period of time to do remedial work. Still feels like they just swept the problem under the rug to me, though.

The correct answer here is to move them into ‘special projects’ and let them sit there til retirement. I’ve seen Insurers do this.

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Are they hiring? Asking for a friend.

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Lol no idea. I dont work there anymore.
They did this to my grandboss who used to manage two small departments and now manages nobody but has a nice title.
They also did it to my actuarial supervisor which was a Clown move because he should’ve been on the path to president. He left and is now almost president level at a much bigger company. If I had to work for somebody, it would be him.

That happened to a higher up at a former employer of mine. They put him in charge of a made-up department with no employees so he quit. Kind of weird that they didn’t fire him because they have done that to people in the past, and I think there are other ways of letting someone go quietly.

Well one way to let them go quietly is to do what that grand boss did to me.
I had an actuarial boss that was beyond incompetent. Unable to manage people. They finally left and went into real estate lol. They replaced them with a friend of mine. So I went to them to discuss my future, because I knew the grand boss hated me personally. My friend says ‘I’ve been told that at the end of this project that there won’t be any work for you’. So sure enough, I quit that position and went to another actuarial position in the same company. Problem solved I guess.
And it wasn’t my performance, because the project was on time and the external consultants had sent in unsolicited letters saying that my work was the best from any insurer theyd ever worked with. It was just a manager who was willfully incompetent and couldn’t keep staff.

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You have just experienced what is called “managing out”. Somebody didn’t like her for whatever reason, maybe it was the work but I’m skeptical, could have been budgetary. With a desired employee, it never would have gone to PIP. <tan I really like PIP. I’m assuming it stands for Performance Improvement Plan. It sounds very upper class to me. We shall now discuss your PIP. Cheerio! > PIP is intended to move people on without firing or to build enough evidence so that the company doesn’t get sued when they fire the person. Once on the PIP, as a manager you are supposed to encourage the employee to find other work.

I think this is bad management. So does a good friend of mine who would rehabilitate people off of PIP. He was actually told by his management that he wasn’t doing enough to manage people out. His response was “why should I throw away good talent?” So to answer your question, firing probably wasn’t the best option assuming she was competent and your friend did the right thing in trying to help her improve.

Pip, pip. Cheerio!

as to the original issue, you (CS) seems fully aware of the problem, but she is the one who needs to communicate to her bosses when she is found not suited. Does she readily admit she is as not suited as you do? Is she capable of catching up to where she should be? Was she unaware she wasn’t suited going in, but took the promotion anyway?

It is unfortunate, but not sure you can put the toothpaste back in the tube.

This is exactly the kind of scenario I would hate to have to handle as a people manager and why I never want to be one.

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was there anyone complaining about him to management / HR?
People were leaving were they complaining in exit interviews?
You knew there was a problem, did you document incidents so you could report them later?

This was from like EL to EL+1 pretty much. I don’t think she saw it coming in, but was aware by the time she moved up. It would sound extremely rare to me to see someone decline an analyst II position because they thought they weren’t ready.

Oh yeah,no.
I sent an email to hr talking about problems and gave specifics.
HR handed it over to my grandboss and my boss to deal with, who called me into a meeting (no HR involvement). How do you suppose that went for me? Well it ended like I posted above lol.

In an ideal world if the employee has potential I would freeze the salary and create a development plan that lasts more than 90 days. But often the employee doesn’t want to wait that long and loses trust in the organization that punishes them for a situation caused by another person.

Sounds like the company just wants to overwork her like a sweat shop.

Find a job that you only have to work 5hr/week at MOST, like my current gig. Knowing how to hide the 35 hrs should be your priority. If you don’t have that skill, then you deserve to be fired.


Gawd I would excel so much in a ‘special projects’ role. I’m good at our core work, but find it dull beyond belief.

I’ve been on one PIP in my career. My firm typically treats it as a ‘one year warning’ that if performance doesn’t improve, you might be gone.

I was promoted a year later.

sorry, my daughter had a similar problem, but her boss (actually boss’s boss) was fired

Sounds like she found the right answer regardless.

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sounds to me like she was pretty incompetent as analyst I, and that’s why her first boss (being a nice guy), gave her easy stuff to do with lotsa praise. This only hurts her in the end

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False. I do about 10% of what I did as an analyst and make about 300% more. Jumping ship is the right move always. Never feel guilty about doing too little work.

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