BY CHRISTINA DAVISImagine this: David runs a small but profitable livery company with a limited fleet of late-model vehicles, three reservationists, three dispatchers, and a mix of full- and part-time chauffeurs. One day, a longtime dispatcher unexpectedly quits. She was scheduled for a weekend shift but sent David a text on Friday, explaining that she was not only calling out but also leaving the company. He later learned that this dispatcher found a similar position at a competitor, and she was badmouthing David and his operation to her new co-workers. David was disappointed—he never dreamed that a seasoned employee would leave so abruptly and cut ties so irrevocably.
How your employees leave your company says a lot about your management, your team, and most importantly, your culture. Most of us assume people quit to get a shorter commute, a promotion, more flexibility, a better schedule, and of course, more money. And while it’s important to gather this information about why they leave, we may be missing some hints from how they leave.
Encouragingly, by-the-book departures are the most common: The employee actually sits down with management to discuss the resignation and offers both a reason and a plan for the transition period. An employee who chooses to be up front with his reasoning for departure indicates respect for the company and its management. An in-the-loop departure—the employee notifies the manager about his desire to search for a new job—can be similarly constructive.
Other resignation styles may appear healthy but should still prompt some reflection and discussion. The perfunctory method is similar to by the book; however, the resignation discussion is much shorter and no reason for the departure is given.
“Thank you so much for all you have taught me in the past three years. I’ve learned a lot about how the livery industry works; however, it’s time for me to move on. I would be more than happy to assist with training my replacement.” This grateful goodbye sounds positive. But, as in the case of the perfunctory resignation, the employer doesn’t know why the employee is leaving. Is he leaving because of an issue with the company but doesn’t want to burn bridges? We simply do not know. If you find that many of your employees are resigning in this manner, more communication with the team may be warranted.
The avoidance category is neutral communication: The departing employee avoids telling their manager about their resignation but communicates the intent to co-workers, mentors, and human resources. The employee respects those around him, but not the direct manager. I recommend taking some time to look into the relationship between this employee and manager as well as the manager’s style of directing, rewarding, and building his team. It can be as simple as a personality difference or as damaging as a micromanager not allowing the team to flourish.
The resignation style that should speak the loudest to a company is bridge burning. As the terminology implies, this is when the departing employee speaks ill of the company to future employers and possibly to current clients. Unfortunately, a bridge-burning resignation happened recently to a client of mine: The departing employee reached out to current customers and slandered the company owner. Bridge-burning resignations should throw up a huge red flag. Take a closer look at your management style, the working environment, the team temperature, and the company culture to reflect on why and how this happened.
How your employees leave your company says a lot about your management, your team, and most importantly, your culture."
Unfortunately, the impulsive-quitting style is one we see happening all too often in our industry. The impulsive quitter simply walks off the job or stops coming in with no communication. No notice is provided, rides are left unassigned, checks are left undeposited, and sales are left unclosed. Of all the resignations styles listed here, this one speaks the loudest. In many instances, nothing you could have done would have made this employee stay; however, in most cases, there are real reasons behind an employee’s departure that would benefit the future of your company to understand and acknowledge.
Communication in the workplace is of utmost importance, just as it is in any relationship. The ability for employees to be open about their thoughts, ideas, concerns, and areas of desired improvement and growth—and, more importantly, to be heard and given fair consideration by their manager—can greatly increase employees’ morale and desire to stay with your company.
If, like David, you have experienced a negative employee resignation, you can get the information you need through one-on-ones between managers and employees, team meetings, and employee surveys. Now’s the time to make sure you’re listening to your employees at every step in their employment timeline with you. [CD0417]
Christina Davis is the HR director for The LMC Group. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.