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When Employees Quit,
Do Not Automatically Hire A new One
Generally speaking, employees want a safe, reasonable work environment that, within reason and accepted constraints:
Provides interesting and satisfactory work and responsibilities
Pays fairly, with adequate benefits and rewards for superior performance
Provides job security for satisfactory performance
Treats them fairly, with respect and courtesy
Good staff should be treated well. They should be recognized and rewarded for their superior performance. Promote them, provide rewards, and pay them well. The best might be kept by allowing them to participate in profits and ownership. As for those who may not be among the favoured few, all employees deserve courtesy and respect. Grant all reasonable employee requests, and quickly communicate on important issues. Express appreciation publicly but discipline privately, objectively and fairly. Solicit, accept, and reward beneficial employee input. Most importantly, train and instruct them sufficiently to effectively meet your expectations, and equip them with the proper tools.
Still, whatever you do to create a good work environment, an employer’s perspective, it is impossible to meet all the needs of everyone in their employ. There will always be people, circumstances, and events that do not fit the requirements, and good people will leave for their reasons. And it will always be inconvenient and sometimes unfair.
When good employees leave, it creates a void in the organization and the thinking turns towards “what is not there”, like what is missing in a half empty glass.
But next time you hear those annoying words “I’m leaving your employ”, look on it as an opportunity rather than the disruption you may naturally think it is.
Most employers start thinking of an immediate replacement because deadlines must still be met, customers must still be served and business goes on. Replacing the lost employee as quickly as possible is practical, common sense.
But is this approach the best possible solution to the problem? Not always! Sometimes this is the ideal time to re organize how things are done.
One approach would be to list all the tasks that require doing, those that do not have to be done, and those that are not currently being done but that have a good chance of adding value and benefits to customers and the business.
Discuss these three categories with staff and solicit their input.
It makes sense to start with “what can we stop doing?“ These are tasks that do not add a lot of value, do not move you closer to achieving important objectives, or those that can be “re-engineered” using more up-to-date methods and technologies. Stress the positive outcomes to staff to ensure they do not feel threatened and to ensure their answers and input are honest and reliable. ( You could even offer them a chance to drop and add responsibilities to create their new positions, one where they are happier and more productive.)
Once you know what you can drop or ignore, focus on tasks required to meet important goals and those that have potential to markedly improve the business and what it can do for its customers and constituents. These can come from an existing “to-do” list or generated in the discussions.
The outcome is a planned improvement in how things are done. Core requirements will be looked at and all steps required to achieve the goals and priorities will be re-evaluated. A second outcome should be happier employees because they will have input into their own job descriptions.
Perhaps the most important outcome though is that you will uncover and identify areas in which you lack resources and\or expertise which you then use to articulate the responsibilities and desired skill set of the new hire.
And this is a huge benefit! If you hire immediately, you will simply “fill the hole” and the status quo is maintained. However, if you see the departure as an opportunity to re-examine and re-evaluate your methods, your goal becomes improvement and growth.
And the glass becomes half full instead of half empty.
© 2015 John B Voorpostel CPA, CA, CMB
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