It hurts doesn’t it? When someone in your team decides to leave you after you have invested significant time and money in them. Just think about it – there was the recruitment drive, recruitment fees, onboarding, induction, on the job training, external training and time till they were fully functional. Plus the financial ‘on costs’ which include superannuation, worker’s compensation and payroll tax etc adding up to an additional 22.5% on top of the base salary. Now you have to start the process all over again, taking a hit on productivity and profit in the interim.
It will hurt more if this person played a key role in your team or was one of your high performing employees. So why did they take the decision to leave, especially given the current market stability? Do you know? Do you care? What could you learn from asking?
Here are five things you can do to learn from the experience and ensure a smooth exit:
- Exit Process – we generally make a fuss when new hires choose to join our company and help us achieve our company goals but the same does not tend to happen at the Exit. It is critical that we treat people professionally as they exit. This includes ensuing timely & appropriate communication, the return of security passes and keys and systems access ceases. Make them feel good about their contribution to the business, a thank you card and cake do wonders
- Handover – as soon as you are aware of the resignation, you need to plan for the exit. Who will be doing the role until the individual is replaced? Is this an opportunity to reduce headcount or split up the duties between other team members? Have the exiting team member write a detailed handover document covering off all aspects of their role
- Exit Interview & analysis – conduct an exit interview with all individuals who have resigned. This shows that you value their thoughts and inputs; they may be more inclined to share information now that it will not affect their promotion opportunities or salary. You will be amazed at what you will learn. It does not stop there, after a while you will capture trends and information that is extremely valuable to the growth of your business
- Alternatives to losing people – if you are managing your people effectively and closely and I don’t mean micro – managing them, resignations would not come as a surprise. I would recommend avoiding a counter offer situation but it is an option available to you if you desire. It may buy you more time develop a strategy to cross train team members to cover other roles or look to start the recruitment process again. Most counter offers tend to resign again within six months because either the promised changes do not occur or there is resentment harboured as it took them to resign before you paid them what they felt they were worth all along. Managers need to understand and know what drives and motivates their team and take responsibility for removing blockers
- Alumni – it is a small market our there and sometimes former employees become competitors or clients or they might discover that the’ grass was not greener’ and seek to return. This can be a real bonus but how can you pave the way for this to happen? A good idea is to develop an Alumni program. What does this involve, not a lot? Make sure that you have contact details for the terminating employee and send out a newsletter each quarter sharing what is happening in your business. They may become an advocate or source of new clients for you or even just a great friend.
I am still great friends with my first boss, she hired me at 18 years old when I knew nothing and then again at 21 when I am not sure I knew much more and then she became a client of mine. Now she is much more than that and was on that yacht in Croatia I talked about in a previous blog.
Losing people is inevitable but you can maximise the opportunity as it presents itself rather than make a bad situation worse.