Upon hearing that someone is underperforming, many companies will have you write the person a document called a performance improvement plan. This is a set of clearly defined objectives that the person must achieve within a fixed period of time. If she manages to achieve them, then she is taken off the plan and all is well; otherwise, she’s fired. Depending on the company, such a plan might actually be an effort to turn an employee around, but often the plan is written in such a way that the person can’t possibly hope to achieve the goals in the allotted time, and it’s just a generous way of giving someone time to look for another job before being fired.
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