Business

3 Strategies to Help You Avoid Surprise Resignations


By Matt Doyle, VP and co-founder of Excel Builders, a truly unique custom home builder, creating homes that make every day easier.

Resignations are hitting nearly every business. Recent research has shown that this trend is set to continue into 2022. This is a serious problem for every business owner and manager, and it’s becoming clear that it will take active leadership to avoid. 

This is a problem I can’t take lightly in my business. I construct custom homes. My projects require daily expertise on everything from architecture to engineering and plumbing. Losing a key team member at the wrong time could cause unacceptable delays.

Starting late last year, I started developing some strategies to more actively prevent sudden resignations. Following these strategies has helped me avoid losing people when I need them most.

Take Stress Seriously

The last year was not an easy one for most people. Just because your people have adapted better to high stress doesn’t mean that it’s having less of an effect. In fact, it’s the hidden stress that’s more likely to end in an employee leaving rather than considering other options.

It can be hard to help employees with stress. Most employees–and especially the driven ones you want to keep–can’t manage stress with seminars, pep talks and pizza-in-the-break-room parties. If you want to keep them, what they need most is time off.

Even if it’s just until the end of the year, you should consider every leave request more carefully than you might have in the past. There are a lot of sacrifices that are worth making if it means that a key employee might get the relief they need.

Ensure High-performers Don’t Get Ignored

Many managers don’t follow a specific science when it comes to promotions. They may be based on gut feeling, predictions of future needs or just a good rapport. However, this process really needs some rules. Handing out promotions without thinking about how they will be received by others is a recipe for disaster. 

It’s important to remember that not every key employee is going to be visible to you. It’s easy to remember the achievements of the people you spend every day around. However, other employees may be accomplishing more without recognition.

I recommend that you correct this problem by putting a process in place to ensure no employee falls through the cracks. You should have a yearly audit where you track the career journeys of your most important team members. Make a note to recognize anyone being left out.

Make Room for Lateral Moves

Some of the people caught in the wave of resignations just want to do something different with their experience. If your organization has the room, you may be able to give them what they need without losing their drive or knowledge.

When possible, you should encourage employees to make lateral moves when they want a change. You can start by considering your existing employees whenever you want to hire for a new position. One of them may be both a good fit and eager for a change.

You can also scratch that “new experience” itch by letting employees train in new skills you need without leaving their current position. They may be interested in moving into a job title that combines their experience and their new training. 

A surprise resignation can turn into a crisis for any company. If you don’t want it to happen to you, start taking an active role. Take employee stress seriously, make sure everyone is getting recognition and help employees make lateral moves.

These strategies can help you get in front of most of the reasons employees quit. That can help you prevent sudden resignations in the future.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.


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