As a follow-up to last weeks post about
the client, this week I’m going to touch upon the employee who departs for
greener pastures. But, first, a little personal story.
Close friends of the family moved their
son from one school to another last year. He was entering seventh grade. They
had no problems sharing their / his reasoning. He did not like his classmates
at school one. He felt the teachers were against him at school one. He was
having a hard time concentrating in class at school one. He had too many
run-ins with teachers and the principal at school one for getting into scuffles
with other kids or talking back to adults. Everyone around him at school one
was to blame for every little problem he encountered. So, on to school two he
went, and sure enough everything went off without a hitch in the beginning. He
made a few new friends at school two that seemed a better fit. The principal
and teachers were new and so he was not getting himself into trouble. His
grades seemed to be better as well. And then the honeymoon period, so to speak,
was over. He settled into school two and he began to get into a bit of trouble.
It would seem the other kids were at fault for his talking back to teachers.
The other kids were tempting him to start trouble on the playground. School two
was harder than school one, so he said, which caused his grades to decline
slightly. It was the other kid at school two that started the fight for which
he received in-school suspension (the other kid did not). My, my, my, wasn’t
the grass to be so much greener on the other side?
As it turns out, our friend’s son in
this story was the issue all along, but because his older brother was a model
student, his parents did not see that he was not bullied but rather the bully.
Employees are like this boy at times. Everything goes well for a period of
time, the honeymoon phase if you will, and then over time their performance
slips. It is never their fault, rather everyone else’s around them. Instead of
owning issues, they pass the buck. And so the story goes.
Being an employer can be great at times
and very frustrating at other times. Employees are people too. They have
relationships of their own and life “happenings” that impact them day-to-day.
An employee is not a robot that is at your beckon call. However, with that
said, the employee too has obligations to you as the employer. All too often,
especially in sales, an employee leaves a company because they believe they are
not being treated fairly, they are being undercompensated, or they are wooed
away by another company with the promise of the grass being greener.
When an employee expresses displeasure
or takes the ultimate step of resigning, conduct an exit interview, and
blatantly ask why they feel the grass will be greener on the other side. It may
shed some light on your own organization or it may shed some light on the
thought process of the employee. The grass is certainly not always greener on
the other side. Caution should arise when interviewing and managing employees,
especially sales people, who use this phrase. It is typically a sign that they
will jump for less-than-valid reasons and you’ll want to avoid these types of