Like many managers, I used to take it personally when employees left my company to pursue other opportunities. But that was my inexperience and ego talking. I learned to look at it a different way: Employee turnover, and the way in which those conversations happen, can help define your company’s culture.
In an ideal world, every hire you make is talented, fulfilled, performing to the best of their ability, and achieving all of their goals. In that world, turnover is always negative. But in reality, sometimes a new hire doesn’t work out, or they’ve simply hit the ceiling for growth in your organization. And in those cases, turnover can be the best thing that happens to that employee and to your company—if it’s done right.
Employee Turnover and Your Company Culture
If you have an employee who has been offered the chance to further their career, take on new challenges, or make more money to take home to their family, greet their move with genuine congratulations. When you send off good employees with warmth and good wishes, word makes its way through your organization that you support their dreams and care about their professional growth.
Employees who leave on good terms serve as evangelists for your company culture and spread the word to potential recruits. And who knows, that employee just may come back at a future point in time, or may be in a position with a client or vendor to bring in new opportunities for your company.
The companies I owned had that reputation. By removing the taboo of talking about leaving the company, you build trust in your organization and show, not just tell, that you invest in your employees’ future—even if it’s not with you.
Our leaders helped employees discover and articulate exactly what they were looking for in their next opportunity. We even introduced them to clients when we felt it was the right fit. We lost some good people, but once word spread that we treated our employee team with respect and compassion, we had a line at the door of the best people in town looking for their next position.
Engaging in Courageous Communication
In the case of an underperforming employee or one who isn’t the right fit, the same guideline holds true: As a good manager, your responsibility to the employee, a fellow human being, is to guide them in the direction that best leverages their talents and abilities, even if that means outside the company.
Employee underperformance isn’t just a company challenge. It’s also a challenge for the employee. It’s taxing on their nervous system, which ultimately leaves them stressed and anxious both at work and at home.
The employee would be best served by having a manager help them develop a clear understanding of their talents, abilities and the kind of job they’re best suited for.
A lot of managers shy away from that conversation because it’s not an easy one to have. But helping your employee better understand how they can add the most value to a company and to their life will ultimately enable them to become the best version of themselves. It may be difficult for them to hear, but if we as leaders are going to be the best version of ourselves and create a company culture that top performers are drawn to, we need to get comfortable with the uncomfortable.
Avoiding an uncomfortable conversation is doing the employee a disservice, and it’s also doing your personal brand as a leader a disservice. Top performers expect their managers to engage in critical dialogue respectfully and compassionately.
If hearing the particulars of this story would help you or your partners, send me a note or give me a call: firstname.lastname@example.org and (414) 315-0523. You can also get on my calendar directly for a free discovery call here: https://pmydlach.youcanbook.me/.
My career path started out at IBM before moving on to start, build and eventually sell two technology service companies. From there, I’ve been a global channel development partner, and personal/corporate achievement coach helping leaders and teams break through to the next level.