This is that time of year.  Employees resign, employers lay off, and even if employment status doesn’t change, evaluations on performance from both sides fester in minds and hearts. The human internal clock seems to measure life by the calendar year, whether we intend to or not.  What causes us to do this?

Last weekend, I had lunch with a dear friend of many years who works in the medical industry.  In her 25+ year career in management, she has experienced mergers, acquisitions, an array of Vice Presidents coming and going, unreasonable expectations for hiring in staff regarding compensation and hours, along with a significant pay cut herself.  The pay-cut had the added “bonus” of being accompanied by increased responsibility and a new title. The question in your mind as well as mine is, “Why does she stay?”  Her answer is that the doctors need her, and she can temporarily sacrifice her own well-being in the hope that eventually, with the doctor’s help in speaking to the management company, her pay will rise again.  Other than more responsibility of managing seven doctors’ offices instead of four, her job really hasn’t changed.  Her comment to me at lunch was, “Do I really want another year of this?”

The end of the year is associated with employers evaluating the company’s return on investment, relationships with clients, business partners and employees, as well as the company’s outlook over the upcoming year.  They think about what they really want to continue doing (or not doing) moving into the new year, which includes whether the effort they are putting forth in a relationship is being reciprocated.  Many of them consult their CPA firms, bonding companies, attorneys and other consultants for advice on how to make the upcoming year better than the last.

Employees are thinking about whether they are appreciated, paid fairly, working in a stable company, and if not, who or what is preventing them achieving their goals.  They have pressures from loved ones for time and money, and for focused attention.

Both sides have goals and expectations.  How do you align them?

In corporate America, programs are often put together for roles that outline a specific career path, and the pay and responsibility that correspond with the trajectory.  The pace of the career path is set upon both by the paygrade and by the employee mastering the level at which he is presently assigned.  Corporate America also has middle managers, trainers and human resource departments to assist the Executive team and Department leaders with making the timing decisions and accomplishing the transitions when they do.

Small-to-mid-size construction companies in America cannot afford the luxury of formal departments in place for HR, IT, and other corporate support roles.  This responsibility instead falls to the executives of the company, who are typically assisted by others in the company taking on additional responsibilities to assist them with training. Sometimes temporary contracted help or consultants are brought in to help establish a baseline and system.  Either way, it is usually not consistent.  Moreover, most companies don’t have formalized career paths mapped out, as there may or may not be a “one size fits all” solution.

Construction employers, if you have employees who:

  • Don’t speak up when their job requires them to do so
  • Know and agree to company policy, but chose not to follow it
  • Who negatively affect the morale of the office
  • Who damage productivity with too many mistakes or missed deadlines
  • Who are apathetic – they just don’t care about their job, the company, or associates
  • That thrive on drama and are not discrete in their conversations
  • Are unethical in any way

And have professionally addressed the issues, yet have found them to be untrainable and/or unwilling to change, you must dismiss them.  Skill can be taught, but bad behaviors that are addressed and then repeated are a choice.

Employees, you should resign if you cannot control yourself with any of the aforementioned behaviors.  Maybe it just isn’t the right working environment for you. You should also consider resigning if others are behaving badly and it is affecting your work performance, and the company chooses not to correct it.

Besides behavioral challenges, resigning to achieve something with a new employer that you are certain you can not achieve with your current employer is acceptable after it is verified.  If the matter is uncertain, it is a conversation and not a resignation and both employer and employee should agree as to what the steps look like to reach the goal and stick to it.

When the urge to make a change nudges your inner being as the year comes to a close

Heed Zig Ziglar’s advice.
“Making a big life change is pretty scary. But know what’s even scarier? REGRET”

In, Out or in Doubt?  Verify, don’t Justify. Time and attention reveal intentions.

Suzanne Breistol

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