January, as a business owner, is a month that you often just want to get through as quickly as possible… Not only because you’re still getting over the Christmas and New Year hangover but also because it is when you’re most at risk of someone handing in their notice. However well you treat your workforce we’d all be naive to think that 90% of the people you employ will be with you for a lifetime. Unfortunately ‘New year, new career’ is consistently one of the most common phrases banded around in January as people have taken time to reflect on their life & aspirations over the Christmas break – and this hasn’t changed in 2019!
So, without panicking, what are you to do if one of your team hand in their notice? Here’s 6 things the Robertson Sumner team would recommend…
1) Have more than one contact in each customer account!
This is a little bit of a cheeky one as it’s something for consideration before anyone hands in their notice but is absolutely vital for a sales led business… make sure every customer has more than one touch point within your business!
This is vital on a whole host of different levels; not only does it help ensure business won’t be lost when an employee leaves but also adds to the service that you’re offering. There are a whole host of reasons for Senior Managers to have a service review with a client, alongside the Account Manager: you’re able to assess the quality of the Account Manager’s work, find additional opportunities to upsell which the Account Manager might not have identified but also, and probably most importantly, it shows the client that you truly value their business.
2) Don’t panic & try to learn something from the situation
It is very easy to act emotionally in the moments following an employee handing in their notice. This is understandable when you’ve probably invested a lot of money into this individual, however try to remain calm & rationale. Don’t just accept the employee’s notice and shut the door but instead have an open & honest conversation, trying to learn from the situation.
Ask your employee why they want to leave? Where are they going? Do they have any issues or problems with your business or work environment? This could be a great opportunity to discover some fundamental flaws in your business and stop more of your team following this individual out of the door… Or they could have no issues at all but are simply moving to the other side of the world.
3) Don’t make a quick ill-considered counter offer!
Firstly on this point, remember the very important stat that:
“80% of people who accept a counter offer from their current employer end up leaving within 6 months.”
This is vital to remember as the main reason why this stat is so high and shocking is due to the simple fact that most counter offers are made immediately, promising a highly inflated salary or just simply something that won’t be possible for you to deliver on… Therefore when making a counter offer, if you want this to be a long-term decision & not just a quick fix, make sure you think carefully before putting anything on the table.
Also, and most importantly, take into account the reason why the employee is leaving… if they’re leaving because they want to change sector or ‘don’t get on with Phil in accounts’ then don’t just throw more money at them… it won’t work!
4) Communicate to the team and follow procedures
Once you’ve chatted things through and made sure that the decision is final, it’s important that you do things by the book and communicate the situation with the rest of your team.
Work out the employees notice period and decide whether you want them to work this – in the sales sector, where Robertson Sumner predominantly focus on, we recommend that you should exit the employee as quickly as possible. You don’t want a disgruntled member of staff speaking to your valued customers.
Once you have a clear idea of when the employees final day will be make sure you clearly communicate this to the team, publicly wishing them well and encouraging the team to do the same. Where you can, it’s important that you don’t burn any bridges and leave on good terms. You want to make sure the rest of the team remain engaged and don’t follow the departing employee out through the door.
5) Communicate the news & look after your customers
If you have followed the first point on this list then hopefully this shouldn’t be too hard for you to do as all of your customers won’t only know your business through one Account Manager. But either way it is absolutely vital that this individuals departure doesn’t affect your clients.
Put together a strategy and clearly communicate things with each customer as quickly as possible, they shouldn’t be hearing the update from anyone but you and assure them that this change won’t affect any service or project underway.
6) Think carefully about their replacement
Once the whole situation is sorted, this is a great time for you to re-access what you’re looking for from the role… Would you like someone with the same level of experience? Would you prefer to replace the experienced staff member with 2 graduates? Or is there anyone in the business who is able to take a step up into the role? From a negative could come a positive…
All in all, to conclude, fingers crossed you’re not left in this situation but if you are; don’t panic, learn from it and try to find positives out of it!