I invest a lot in my employees at Sircle Media. They cost me money, time, focus and attention, each and every day. I’m not complaining mind you- they work hard for me and I am happy to give it all to them in return. As a result, it has led me to hold onto employees for too long sometimes. I knew in my gut that they are not right, but I just don’t want to lose out on the investment I made and I feel like somehow I failed and/or failed them, because I couldn’t make it work. Truth is, that it is always for the best if they move on.
If you both genuinely try hard and listen to one another’s needs and concerns and it still doesn’t work out, then the best move is to make a change. Despite the frustration and opportunity cost spent on replacing them, it has always been a great move for my business. I can say with confidence, that the best employees on my staff, came as a result of one of these transitions.
I love anyone who has worked for me, even if only for a short period. I realize they could work anywhere and I appreciate every minute they gave me and my company. I will work hard to help set them up after they leave here with advice, letters of recommendation and even go so far as to set them up with interviews. They helped me and I choose to return the favor.
I also have found, that if the foundation of the departing employee is strong, then the exit can be a smooth and positive one. They are relieved that you are not harsh with them and they want to do everything they can to set you up to win when they leave. It also shows your remaining staff that you do back up what you say and that you are professional and courteous to your team, even at a dark time. This makes it clear that any (even that super stressful and uncomfortable) conversation is OK to have with you. This makes for improved and open communication amongst those who stay, which is a very good thing.
The only negative thing that happens (almost every single time) is that when you look under the hood of an unhappy or bad fit employee’s work, it is a mess. Their work product is just not up to snuff (most likely because they have been distracted and/or conflicted about their role) and their output suffered. So once again, the faster you address that the better off your company will be. In a service business like mine, you need to address this quickly, because even one day of lackluster work can be very detrimental to client relationships. They would prefer change, over anything less than 100% effort and results.
So my advice? Audit your employees regularly. Understand their vision (both short and long term) and make sure your company infrastructure is in line with where they want to be. If you are out of sync, it likely wont work for long. Reverse engineer what would make them happy and working at their best, and then create an environment that allows you to win together. Then you have something that is built to last!