Recently I read a statement from an employer who lost a solid employee. Here’s the gist:
My employee RESIGNED. He got a great opportunity elsewhere. Here is what I told him: “Know this, I will miss you, tremendously. It is not just your talents, it is also your amazing sunshine attitude, your dedication, and your positive influence on me personally. Whoever hired you is one lucky person. I am sure they will appreciate you as much as we do. I am so grateful to you for all the difference you have made. You will do very well, no good luck wishes are needed. All the best, and perhaps one day, I will have the privilege of working together again with you.”
As opposed to what you just read, why is it that when employees resign most of the time they are treated like traitors? To be clear from the outset in this post, I am NOT talking about resigning employees who actually should be terminated. There are bad hires, panic hires, situational hires that regularly occur in businesses where breakups can’t and shouldn’t be avoided. I’m talking about good, solid, valuable employees who decide to move on of their own volition.
It would seem to make better sense for employers to congratulate them on finding what they feel will be a better opportunity. I am in the minority camp of folks who believe that when a good employee resigns owners and managers should:
-Thank them for their contribution to the team and for all the good they have done.
-Tell them they would be welcomed back if they change their mind.
-In word and deed treat them with respect, like you would anybody else.
Businesses often fail to consider that ex-employees are their ambassadors for life. They will be sharing their employment experiences wherever they go, whether positive or negative. If your company always has openings it can’t seem to fill, or keep filled, maybe your reputation has preceded many qualified candidates.
Here’s an example from my own family of what we’re discussing. After graduating college as a construction engineer in the mid 1990’s, my oldest son Adam, joined a large design-build construction firm as a field engineer. He learned quickly and gained favor with upper management at that company. Four years later as a married man starting his family, he began to feel the crush of more month than money. Long story short, he was recruited away by a competitor offering a larger paycheck to perform basically the same role.
Upon giving his notice of resignation, the President of his company spoke to Adam about his value to the company, and warned him about making a mistake, imploring him to stay put there and be patient. My son, in what he calls his “young and dumb” stage, ignored this advice and jumped ship. Thankfully, key people at the company continued to reach out and “touch” him once or twice a year as time went on.
Four years later Adam realized he should have stayed put with his original company. Fortunately for both parties, leadership there had not alienated or “career shamed” him when he defected. They were able to woo him back eleven years ago, and he remains a happy camper who plans to be there until retirement. Since returning he has progressed from Field Engineer to Superintendent, and currently is
Project Manager. Adam is a respected and valuable member of the team and in no way has become an engineering version of Hester Prynne with a scarlet letter around his neck at the office.
Managers and owners: Stop cutting off your noses to spite your face!
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