When to Let Go

Picture this. A valuable employee gives her notice saying that she found a great job with another company. She's sorry to go and she's loved working for your firm, but the offer is just too good and she has accepted the position, effective in two weeks.

OH NO! You think. What will you do? Now you have to post her position, advertise for the opening, put some work into replacing her and it's JUST NOT THE RIGHT TIME. So, what do you do. . .you throw more money at her. You simply can't lose her. There's too much to be done. Even though she's paid fairly, it would be cheaper for you to just pay her more. So, you offer her more money and she graciously decides to stay.

Let's back track. The day she gave her notice is not the day she decided to leave your organization. In fact, she decided a long time ago that she was going to leave. The day she gave her notice is many days, possibly even months, after she disengaged from her job with you. She likely hasn't been a productive, fully engaged employee for a long time. She started looking for another job while she was supposed to be doing your work. She started thinking about working somewhere else, anywhere else, while she was sitting at your desk, answering your phone, managing your employees, or selling whatever it is you produce. When she came in late, left early, had an extra long lunch hour, or took an unplanned day off, she likely interviewed for another job. Face it. She's been planning to leave for a while.

And now you're going to do whatever you need to do in order to keep her. STOP! Don't do this. She left a long time ago. The money you are planning to throw at her is just a band aid because SHE'S ALREADY DECIDED TO LEAVE. The money will come in handy for her and appease her for now. So admit it. She's already gone.

Let's rewind again. A valuable employee gives her notice saying that she found a great job with another company. She's sorry to go, she's loved working for your firm, but the offer is just too good and she has accepted the position, effective in two weeks.

Okay. You think. What will you do? Now you have to post her position, advertise for the opening, put some work into replacing her and it's JUST NOT THE RIGHT TIME. So what do you do. . .You realize that it's never the right time so you say, thank you. It's been great working together and I wish you well in your new position. And then, depending on her job, her attitude, and your company's past practices, you either ask her what she'll be doing during her notice period to make the transition a smooth one or you escort her to her workstation so you can help her gather her personal belongings and then walk her to the door.

Why consider trying to talk someone into staying who has decided so long ago to leave. Do you really want someone who doesn't want you?

Let 'em go. Wish 'em well. Move on. There are great candidates out there who want to work for you. Now go find 'em.


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