Exiting Stage Left

2011 and 2012 have had some breakthrough of job openings within organizations. Subsequently, many people have moved on to bigger and better opportunities or in other words, exited stage left.

Ultimately, people are leaving organizations for several reasons:

  • Not happy with their job or organization
  • Lack of a challenge in current position
  • Seeking more money
  • Took a pay cut or demotion to be able to work
  • Can’t work for their boss anymore

When these people leave your organization, how does leadership respond?

  1. Does the departure represent something good – low performer – and the employee is free to go?
  2. Does the departure represent something bad – high performer – and the organization hates to see the employee go?

If the employee leaving is a low performer and causes issues, then most likely we are glad to see the person go. However, what happens when the employee is a high performer?

High performer exits can represent two situations – either the organization tries to save them or they allow them to go, but regret seeing them go. For those that the organization tries to save, it seems to usually be directors or higher level positions since these positions are generally more difficult to find replacements. Whereas if it is a manager or lower, there seems to be less urgency or interest in trying to retain the person except when it is absolutely critical (e.g., one person has left and the second person that is doing both jobs and knows how is attempting to leave).

So, why does the focus of saving HIPOs have to matter to the extent of what level the position is within the organization?

Answer:  it doesn’t.

It just needs to be a priority of the organization other than just “talking” about it.

With the reality that most organizations just “talk” about saving HIPOs and you are in the situation of wanting to exit your organization, here are a few recommendations I have for you:

  • Don’t expect your organization to reach out and save you if you give notice
  • If you plan on giving your notice, make sure you are doing it for the right reasons for you
  • You like your job, organization, and/or manager, but it comes down to the money, have the frank conversation with your manager (be sure to have facts to justify an increase) – the most they can say is “no”
  • If you are leaving because you are unhappy, remember that no matter how much money the organization throws at you, you still won’t be happy
  • If your role doesn’t challenge you any more, have the conversation with your manager on how you can expand your role and discuss potential opportunities within the organization

With less jobs available and high numbers of job seekers, always remember that your organization could potentially take the stance of “who cares” on your departure. Therefore, think long and hard before you give your notice if you just want to gain some attention to get more money or a promotion – it could be detrimental.

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