July 20, 2008

George Glazier Just Quit Working For You–Now What Do You Do?

By Paul Bieber

George, one of your glazing crew just walked in and gave you two weeks notice; so, what do you do? First thank him for his courtesy, second, ask him why he is leaving and where he is going, and lastly to wait outside your office for five minutes. Take this time to organize your thoughts. You want to plan what to say, what actions to take, rather than react on pure emotions.

On a pad, layout the pluses and minuses of George’s resignation. Ask yourself:

1.Are you and your company better of with or without this person?

2.Is he as good on his job as you hoped he would be when you hired or promoted him?

3.Is he reliable?

4.Do you think he is trying to bluff you to work a counter-offer to stay at a higher rate of pay?

5.Does he care about the company’s best interests? Or does he only care about what’s in it for him?

6.How is his safety record?

7.How does he get along with customers? Co-workers? Management?

8.Do you have a person in mind who has asked about employment at your company?

9.Is the reason he told you a valid reason for leaving your company?

10.Is there a problem that you are trying to fix and if he knew about your efforts to fix it, would he stay?

This is a lot to think about in five short minutes. Here’s my take on these questions:

1. Are you better off? This is the biggest of four key questions. ‘With’, then keep going. ‘Without’, then don’t waste any more time. Accept his resignation and move on to the next important issue of running a glass business.

2. Is he as good? ‘Yes’ here; keep going. ‘No’ here; again, don’t waste any more time.

3. Reliable? A ‘yes’ here is a plus. A ‘no’ here is a deal-breaker—let him go.

4. The counter-offer bluff? ‘No’–keep writing. ‘Yes’, let him go now. Even if you think he is underpaid, if he didn’t come up to you earlier and ask about a raise, or ask if he could work O/T, or ask if he could learn more to earn more, then he is not serious about working for you. You will only encourage this type of blackmail with other employees if you give in to this action.

The next six questions are not as absolute, but any one may be absolute to you. Consider these as parts of the puzzle. Three or more negative answers should tell you to accept the resignation.

5. Does he care? ‘Yes’, he cares about the company is a plus. ‘No’, he only cares about himself earns a minus sign.

6. Safety? A ‘good’ safety record is required, and is a neutral answer. A ‘weak’ or ‘poor’ safety record is negative.

7. Working with people? If he gets along ‘well’ with all three groups, it is a plus. Any group that he doesn’t get along with gives a negative rating to the whole question.

8. Replacement? A ‘yes’, you do have a person in mind who would be an equal or possibly better than the current, is minus on trying to keep the person. A ‘no’ is neutral, only meaning you have to look at other characteristics.

9. Valid reason? A ‘yes’, means you should listen to him and see what his concerns are, and maybe you should talk in depth to see if these are serious, if they can be resolved, and if it would be a benefit to the company to have them resolved. Even if they are valid reasons, if they have not been brought up before, and the first complaint you are hearing is the resignation, something isn’t quite correct. If you don’t feel comfortable, or just wrote a ‘no’, place a minus on the score sheet.

10. Fixing a problem? A ‘yes’ says, tell him about the problem from your point-of-view, and what you think will be the solution. There may be parts of the solution you can’t discuss, like you are planning to replace his supervisor. All you can do is tell him you are working on something, and you hope he gives you the time to act. If you can’t tell the solution, ask if will stop in after you implement your changes, and see about a rehire. If he is not interested in listening, give him a minus.

OK, your five minutes are up. You ask him to come back in, and what do you do? We’ll talk about various options next week; and how to tip the scales in your favor.