Saying Adios at the Water Cooler

Posted on February 15, 2013 by Leave a Comment

Kissing the HR news goodbye for the week ending February 15, 2013:

Cash for Performance?

We’ve all heard the old adage about “throwing money at the problem.” It will only get you so far when you’re renovating your kitchen, and it will only get you so far with your HR practices, too. Praise goes a lot further than cash. Positive encouragement is one of the most underutilized tools in a manager’s wheelhouse, according to a piece in Psychology Today.

Although recognition is appreciated in all its forms, praise is often the most beneficial for companies. For starters, it costs nothing—forget those costly bonus programs that growing businesses can barely afford anyway. When it comes to motivation, never underestimate the value of feeling valued.

Enjoying the Classics

Keeping employees happy is great for motivation, but it’s also key to keeping them on staff. Experienced employees have institutional knowledge and client relationships that are irreplacably valuable, argues Forbes. Not only are great employees valuable in and of themselves, but their departures can send reverberations throughout your entire company. Other employees will start to look around and wonder if they, too, should leave. So will your clients.

water cooler man missing
Some employees can be released without too much pain. For others, their absence will be conspicuous for the forseeable future.

To prevent a mass exodus, employers should think very carefully about recognition and compensation. Don’t deny a reasonable pay increase to a top performer—his exit from your organization will ultimately cost you more than a raise or bonus.

Loss Prevention

Paranoid that your star employee is on her way out? Bloomberg Businessweek has five signs to be on the look-out for. Has she lost interest in either her daily annoyances or that bonus she’s been bugging you about? Giving up on the things that seemed to have mattered most to her is a sign she’s on the hunt for a new (professional) home. Likewise, a sudden spike in her performance metrics may indicate the ol’ resume is getting a tune-up. When a typically introverted employee starts to volunteer for external-facing assignments or suddenly becomes a networking superstar, you can bet she’s looking to make new connections for a way out.

To keep your star employees around, constant communication is key. Check in regularly to make sure they’re happy; offer new and exciting opportunities. Some turnover is inevitable, but if an employee is worth keeping, it’s worth doing anything you can to keep her around.

Man overboard… Two weeks from today!

If you’re the employee on your way out, one thing you should always do is give proper notice. Yes, even when your mean boss doesn’t deserve it. HR Bartender makes the case that the people you’ll really be hurting if you don’t give your employer fair warning of your departure are your former co-workers, who will be stuck doing their work and yours while you head off to bigger and better things. That said, if you do want to duck out early, let your employer know you’re happy to leave as soon as you wrap up your final projects.

Companies receiving a lot of “no notice” resignations should take a hard look at why that may be. While no one likes to think about divorce when a marriage is just starting, make sure all employees know from the get-go what your departure policy is. Finally, don’t force an employee to stay on for the full two weeks, even when it took just a couple days to finish up his work. It looks spiteful. After all, now more than ever your focus should be on the employees who stayed—not the one who jumped ship.

Constantly craving HR news? Register for free email updates or take a look at last week’s Water Cooler.

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