David Goggins said, “Everybody comes to a point in their life when they want to quit, but it’s what you do at that moment that determines who you are.”
A quote like this is usually used to dissuade someone from quitting when the going has gotten tough. Pushing yourself or your direct reports through a difficult path, encouraging persistence and grit, all contribute to a person’s betterment. Quitting, as a practice, is not always a bad thing for everyone involved. Sometimes it can lead to greater opportunities or prosperity. Let’s take a look at the different sides of quitting:
If you’re going to lose an employee, their work anniversary is the likely date. A recent video post from Harvard Business Review discusses the most likely time you’re going to lose an employee. The most common date was near or on their work anniversary with the first anniversary being the most likely. Even as time passes, the work anniversary remains the day when resignations spike.
If you’re having the weekly one-on-one meetings I advocate, you have a chance to take the temperature of a valued employee as their anniversary date approaches. If you know they are in line for a pay increase but can’t guarantee the amount, I recommend getting clearance to drop that hint. If they are having a particularly difficult time with some of their work, focus on how to help them reduce the strain now before they reach a tipping point. In short, put incentives and support in place before the anniversary date. Give them something to consider.
In an employee-driven economy, quitters absolutely win. In many organizations, comp changes that exceed the 4% norm, are rare. Organizations bind an employee to the amount they were able to negotiate when they started the job. This leaves employees with one choice: change jobs and negotiate a better comp package. Instead of losing a valued employee and paying the now-market-rate for a new hire, organizations should offer valued employees a path to a comp package that better suits the employee’s needs. One way or another the organization is going to pay market-rate for the role. You might as well pay it to someone who is already on the team and is valued by management.
Quitting can open doors to process changes and team realignments. When you do lose a team member, you have the opportunity to review processes that they helped execute, the needs of the team and the career goals of those who have remained. Now is a chance to work with the remaining team to find out if there are ways you can redistribute work or redesign workflow. Find out if there are team members who are seeking more responsibility that the current vacuum provides.
Let quitting be on the table for discussion with your team members. As I’ve said for years, my dad worked for one company for 42 years. My full resume is on page three at 10 point type. Long term employees are great but are no longer the norm. And, frankly, there are some people who are just not happy doing the work you need from their role. Quitting is a viable option to help everyone in that situation.
Zappos and Amazon both offer employees cash to quit. In Amazon’s case, the offer starts at $2000 and increases each year to a maximum of $5000. The offer is made every year. This proactive churn is a win-win for everyone. Employees do not have to wait (or push) to be terminated to qualify for money to tide them over while looking for a new job. The company pays a relatively small amount to churn out employees who have checked out. The company also gets, by not taking the offer, a renewed commitment from the remaining employees every year.
Sometimes you have to push through the urge to quit. Other times, quitting is the best path to prosperity. Take the time to understand which option is best for you and your team and don’t be afraid of keeping the quitting option on the table.
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