When an Employee Needs You to Listen or They May Resign
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Just when you think the team is all moving in the right direction an unexpected resignation comes your way. Your first reaction is to try to get them to stay anyway possible. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. Either way, eventually, statistics show that you have a 50/50 chance of retaining them for two years or more. In construction it may be even lower if they did not disclose to you they were even talking to someone else. Yes, the dominant control factor and the fear of the unknown often kick in.

Too often I listen in interviews for the reason behind someone’s resignation from a past employer, while listening to their obvious disappointment.   Upon further explanation, the majority of the time, the resignation happened because they couldn’t get mutual resolution to a need they shared with their employer. Many times they will say it was acknowledged, but then swept under the carpet in hopes it would go away. It festers on their end and leaves them no choice but to resign to get attention for a real need.

By the time an employee comes to you with a personal need it has taken a lot of courage for them to do so. This is especially true with employees that are dedicated and rarely ask anything of others except mutual respect.

Wouldn’t it be terrific if, when everything was going well, it would stay that way? Life happens for us and life happens for those that we employ.

You might have a top employee that was always your go to guy when you needed someone to travel for the company. His wife is ill and right now he is unable to do the travel.

An employee moved closer to family to gain a support system to help with the children after a divorce, only to discover the commute, although the same mileage, takes twice as long.

An employee’s spouse needs to go back to work to help provide for the family, but can only do so if this employee could help drop off the kids in the morning. They opened the company up every morning and can no longer do so.

The aforesaid situations are a very different reason for resignation then an employee who is resigning because someone is hanging a big financial carrot in front of them. Most every time in non-compensation related resignations, a win-win situation for both employer and employee exist, but most employees will not approach you or continue to approach you largely due to the respect they have for you and not wanting to disappoint you. The ironic part is many times they even have the solution, but won’t ask. Yes, the fear of the unknown applies to them also. In this case it is how you will react.

“Life is 10% of what is dealt to you and 90% of how you react to it”.

How do you pave the way to create a culture where resignation is the last resort?   You do life together.

Make sure you are genuinely approachable. Talk is cheap. History speaks for itself.   Employees will be more likely to choose to discuss with you or your leaders if they have seen leadership act respectfully and unselfishly with others.

Start with your leadership team. Make sure you have a simple, genuine conversation with each of them. It goes like this:   If anything changes in your personal life affecting work, or you are having a challenge within the company please know I will make myself available to listen and talk it through with you. Notice I didn’t say dictate a solution.

A good behavioral interview question when interviewing someone with management responsibilities is; “What do you do when someone comes to you with a personal or professional challenge?”

Most of your top Leadership Coaches today teach with the phrase “Servanthood Leadership”. Servant leadership is a philosophy and set of practices that enriches the lives of individuals, builds better organizations and ultimately creates a more just and caring world.

The term sounds so counter-productive, yet what it is saying is to just use your 90% reaction to be in the moment of what they are struggling with, not how it is affecting you! 98% of the time there is a win-win solution.

The six degrees of separation title of this newsletter is to remind us that every person who we come in contact with has a 1 in 6 chance of connecting with others we employ, do business with or want to do business with. If they leave your company they are either a positive or negative voice on the street for you. It’s not just how you hire. It is the Hunt, the Catch, the Keep and the Clean Release if needed.

We are always here to help you with talking through a solution and to help you to hire professional leaders for your team. Life Happens. Let’s do it together.

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