Under performing rep with tons of excuses.

Question for the other leaders in here:

I have a rep whose performance is sporadic, and somewhat mediocre. He tends to be late to internal meetings, and has missed a few, which is something that is not a good. look obviously. For a time he was away on medical leave, and recently missed another meeting and gave a separate medical issue with a family member as the reason he didn't attend. 

I typically err on the side of trusting people, but this has become a thorn in my side, and I am ready to initiate a PIP for both performance and tardiness/absence. The one caveat is myself and my boss are both somewhat concerned that this could be viewed as discriminatory based on the medical side of explanations. 

Has anyone dealt with a similar situation, and if so, how? If not, still open to advice. 
😳 Ethics
🏋️‍♀️ Leadership
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25
Gyro25
Notorious Answer
13
Account Manager
Have you had a 1:1 and let him know that this is/will be a concern if corrective action isn't taken?
Diablo
Politicker
4
Sr. AE
Second this. Communication and setting expectations are important.
Mothy
Valued Contributor
3
SDR
Yep. We have weekly 1:1s, and when it has happened in the past I have expressed that the bare minimum I ask for is at least some form of communication beforehand so I am not left in the dark, which has not been acted on. I haven’t brought up that this may result in a PIP yet, mostly because of the caveat I mentioned.
TennisandSales
Politicker
3
Enterprise Account Executive
Good insight. So in my experience ther just needed to be a conversation where you are telling this person that these actions are not acceptable, why they are not, and what will happen if it doesn’t change.
Sunbunny31
Politicker
2
Sr Sales Executive
I'd take my concerns to HR and get their guidance on how to proceed. All the behavior that's affecting performance is not ok, but I'd get your HR to chime in.

Also...if you're a manager, you may want to check your title. :)
BlueJays2591
Politicker
8
Business Development Manager
Missing meetings is not ok. A simple slack message that they will miss the meeting will suffice. Can't stand tardiness either. You should have a legal rep and HRBP to take this to. Shouldn't be a discriminatory issue, but they will know more sure and let you know the best steps. Thorns in your side hurt only as long as you leave them in
LordOfWar
Tycoon
5
Blow it up
I had a similar issue, my boss wanted him gone and I wanted to ensure the company was not liable for being sued.

We made it very clear the tardiness and missing deadlines were separate from medical issues and even got them on record agreeing so. He left on his own in the end so it worked out easier than I thought it would but we were ready to terminate with cause if needed.
TennisandSales
Politicker
4
Enterprise Account Executive
What have your conversations with this rep been like? Is he aware that these actions could lead to a PIP?
Do you have any understand of WHY this is happening?
GreenSide
Politicker
3
Sales manager
Document everything. Everybody else here is correct you need to be transparent with him, but you cannot forget to follow that up with documentation. Your HR team will likely say this as well.
Pachacuti
Politicker
2
They call me Daddy, Sales Daddy
You need to have a come-to-jesus meeting with this rep along with the HR rep. That way you are able to cover yourself and keep it 100% business.
Jackywaky
Arsonist
2
Sr. Customer Success Manager
1:1 followed by metrics review. Goal setting session, follow-up, Performance improvement plan, and Accountability.
Arzola
Valued Contributor
2
Business administration
delicate, however I consider that meeting with him and commenting on his performance his faults can be a wake-up call and see if his performance works, especially with people who are very cheeky and use sensitive topics as excuses, however with saying "I understand And I'm really sorry about the medical problems you're having, but couldn't you write a message saying you weren't coming?" And that's it, if the behavior continues, hold 2 or 3 more meetings, add human resources and everything is recorded and written so it can be seen that opportunities were given
p3sales
Personal Narrative
2
Medical Sales Specialist
I believe in everything we do there are partnerships. Both parties must give. In this situation, I would say that expectations must be clearly outlined. If all this AE has to offer on the backside of clearly outlining expectations is “rationalizing,” then it may be time for a change. “Intrapreneurs” or entrepreneurs alike, must take ownership of their business. Irregardless of circumstance, they must be responsible and resourceful to find a way.

Maybe this individual has gotten away with rationalizing for years past and it’s become a habit or maybe they are just lazy. Irregardless I believe everyone has potential if coached properly but more importantly, willing to be coached and are driven. You can’t force someone to be successful or accept responsibility. Set the expectation, provide the guidance, and let their actions determine their result.
SDM
Politicker
1
Sales development manager
One on one is required..give him feedback and see how he responds.
bandabanda
Tycoon
1
Senior AE Mid Market
A few other people have mentioned this but the one thing I don’t see in your post is actually talking to him. I’m sure you have but what have those conversations been like?

Who does he have 1:1’s with? What are those like? Does he seem to give a shit? Is he curious and taking ownership over his work? (SDR’s and AE’s need to run their territory like their own business). Is he coachable? Why is his performance sporadic?

Address performance issues directly and privately - late to meetings? Should be called out directly. Ask him if he’s late to client meetings.

However, if there’s any indication of things going on outside of work I like to ask about it and connect the dots of how it’s impacting work.

After an initial conversation like that and other performance related ones, If he can’t turn it around then that’s when I PIP.
bandabanda
Tycoon
1
Senior AE Mid Market
Edit : saw your response to tennis below - looks like you’ve had 1:1’s.

Needs to be black and white what leads to pip and what doesn’t. Have HR there or whatever you want but the call at least needs to be recorded (zoom or whatever) of him agreeing that if these things don’t change in X timeline, he hears and understands what’s going to happen.
ChumpChange
Politicker
0
Channel Manager
The medical issue is TOUGH to navigate and I suggest you align with your HR/POPS team. Does your company offer short-term disability?
LambyCorn
Contributor
0
Sr SDR - Jr AE
''

myself and my boss are both somewhat concerned that this could be viewed as discriminatory'' dude fuck that, you guys are running a business, leave that shit at the door - sounds like the guy is just spewing the most common bullshit excuses

act on it!! 20 years ago you would of have gotten fired on the spot
justatopproducer
Politicker
0
VP OF SALES -US
I’d suggest using their pto or whatever time when they need off. That’s what it’s for. If they are and you’re still concerned than that’s a conversation you need to have with HR and the benefit plan the offer. Nothing worse than a company saying unlimited pto but don’t abuse it and then you have one surgery in your entire life and can’t perform job duties up to their standards. There’s an easy algorithm you can use to identify how much pto is fair and when it impedes on someone doing their job. Unlimited isn’t good for the employer or employee. Both sides take advantage it seems all the time so nip it in the bud
VFG
Good Citizen
0
SDR
1. If he doesn’t know his actions have led you to want to put him on a PIP, you have not been transparent with him. If you spring one on him without telling him the truth first, your odds of being sued go up exponentially.

2. It depends on the nature of the health issues. Are they temporary or permanent? Are the life-threatening? Chronic? Could the aspects of it that are impeding his performance be remedied with a few weeks of PTO?
jefe
Arsonist
0
Head of Sales
Haven't dealt with this, but you likely have to tread carefully given the medical piece.

Definitely meet to discuss and document
activity
Valued Contributor
0
VP, Business Development
I would ramp the amount of communication you have with this rep. Letting them know the micromanagement will stop once they have proved they can be consistent. Sucks when you have to do this as a manager but is effective because they will a lot of times see the writing on the wall and exit stage left.
TheChosenWon
0
IT Supposed Analyst
Well if he doesn't value or want the job you can hire me ASAP! I'm VERY hungry and I'll show up to every day to every meeting.
Mickey
0
AE
I think that it is very important here to involve HR. We are all human, and want to support someone who is sick, but also it's fair to suggest a short term disability. Perhaps suggest that you can have someone else cover their role, and you can regroup to determine if they are up to the job.

They will either get it together or come clean that they really need help.
sketchysales
Politicker
0
Sales Manager
Second the comments RE pulling in for a meeting. Ask him how his family is getting on and what else you can do to support that person but also at the same time let them know that the current behavior is raising questions and concerns.
Mendizo
Executive
0
Sr. Director
As others have said, clear communication of the current reality, as well as future likely path, may be a good wakeup call.

When I've had to deal with this before, it's definitely tough balancing sensitivity to the medical aspect but also the fact that they are in a job. I've tried approaching it by articulating it from their POV as someone who wants to make as much as they can (a good thing).

So, I sat down, and had a frank discussion that I wanted to see them succeed in their role, which also means blowing out their quota and hitting accelerators. That would allow them to financially be more secure than not closing any business. Given that they have lot to deal with, I built a plan along the lines of "let's take this one thing at a time".

First, your point about communicating is a given, that's the very least they should do. It doesn't take more than a minute to let you know if something is going on and they can't make an important meeting.

Second, there is little use in trying to get them to commit to being 100% there (otherwise they'd already be doing it). I set it out so that there would be 'layers' of work that they could do, starting from account planning and preparation. I had them draft up the key accounts they were targeting week by week, and specific courses of action. Just doing this at least showed me they were still somewhat mentally there.

Then, every week we looked at how many of these courses of action were taken. If the seller wasn't able to complete them all, or if they had an emergency, it also made it easier to get other AE's to step in (with shared credit).

Additionally, having these action points listed out and knowing what was done or not was also in a way an easy option to use in a PIP or termination plan, because it was very easy to tally up the fact that they missed X% of the actions they themselves came up with.

In my case, thankfully, the AE dove back in, but at the very least we were documented and prepared if we needed to take action.
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