How Not to Treat Departing Employees

This post was inspired by my younger son, who is transitioning out of his job with one company and going out on his own in a profession.

What’s interesting about the process is the shabby manner in which his former employer has treated a formerly valued employee, who is training his replacement, at half pay and less than half benefits (more about that later).

There’s a reason that employees leave, which isn’t always about money, although in his case, he’ll probably make more as an independent contractor than he did working for his last employer.

Some thoughts:

1. Figure out why someone is leaving and what can be done about it. In my son’s case, he wants to spend more time with his two small children, which he can do if not chained to a desk. So, figure out a package that would be more flexible. Allow outside consulting, as long as it doesn’t conflict with the employer.

2. Do we want to retain this person? Is his/her work good? If so, what does it take to keep him/her? In my son’s case, he probably wouldn’t mind working half time.

3. Related to number 2 above, it’s interesting that all three of his former employers have sounded him out on project work. They value him. I listened to him negotiate a deal with one of them during a trip we were making to Home Depot. Impressive.

4. If the former employers had thought about it, they’d have realized that as a family, he and his wife make excellent money (she’s a successful real estate agent) and they live frugally, aside from a new house that they bought because they outgrew the old one. They also have a thriving rental property portfolio.

5. Don’t chintz on benefits; if one is working half time, then the benefits should be half time. Medical care is important. Instead, in my son’s case, the revised benefits package he estimates is 6% of the old one. They’d probably pay for full benefits, but 6% is just insulting.

6. Do an exit interview if you want to keep someone (you have a lot invested in them), figure out what it takes to keep them, and then put it in place.

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