One day, as I was diligently working on transforming our environment and implementing strategies to increase the retention of our employees, one of the sales leaders came to my office rushing and said:
"Jason is planning to quit today."
I didn’t see that coming, not because I didn’t expect people to quit those days, but because this was an employee that had been successful throughout his time with us. Great performance and amazing commission paychecks.
In the last couple of months though, Jason had been having a rough time. I had a system in place where the best performers from one department would be promoted to a more challenging new operation, where the job would push them out of their comfort level and the rewards would be monumentally better. This team was the ALL-STAR team, and Jason was one of them.
After hearing that Jason was planning to quit, I said:
“Do not let him leave without meeting with me first”.
Jason came into my office, looking down, visibly upset and with a notepad in hand.
When I asked him why he had decided to leave, he looked down at his notepad and started reading from it.
One by one, all the reasons why, in his opinion, the processes we had in place were unfair to him, why he felt that he could not succeed anymore. I let him go through the list. Just listened for a while.
His voice would break at times.
About half-way through the 3-page list I said:
“Jason, if I had been aware of some of these things before today, I could have done something about it. But why reading them to me today, after you have decided to quit? What chance do I have now to try to make some of those things better?”
At the moment, he didn’t appreciate that I challenged him that way, but his attitude changed, from feeling victimized to standing up for himself, so I saw that as a window to ask him to re-think his decision and see himself as part of the improvement process.
What started like a “resignation/venting to my boss” session, ended up being a learning opportunity for everyone.
I became aware of many things that I was not seeing from my team’s shoes.
Jason decided to reconsider his decision of leaving, after I committed to taking some of his feedback as opportunities for us to do better.
My recommendations FOR LEADERS, experiencing people quitting on you.
Take the time to listen to your people when they decide to quit. In their feedback, you will find opportunities to make things better for everyone. The gaps might be in the operations, the rules you have in place or even as simple as lack of communication or acknowledgment of their efforts. Yes, people want to be SEEN, so the solution might be just that: Notice them, listen to them.
FOR YOU, about to quit.
Here, I’m speaking for the company that hired you: We rather keep you. We don’t want you to leave and even if we don’t say it enough, WE NEED YOU.
Before making the final decision answer these questions:
-What’s making you feel that this is not the company for you anymore?
-How can we serve you better as an organization?
-What about your job do you like and don’t like?
-How do you feel about your leader/manager?
-Why do you feel another company would be a better place for you?
This is what I’m asking you to consider: For now, change your mindset from “Quitting” to “Providing an opportunity for improvement”.
Two things might happen after you share your honest feedback:
Your leaders listen, implement changes and you help your company get better.
Nothing happens, but at least you leave knowing you took a chance to express yourself and did your best to help.
Jason didn’t leave. He stayed and continued to succeed. In a way, that moment in my office not only served him to share his thoughts, but also as a way to release all the negative feelings that had been bottled up inside.
He moved up positions, became a manager and even got opportunities to lead operations in different cities. It worked out very well for him.
This can happen to you too. Give your company another chance. Give yourself a chance to grow.
Mariana Jaeger is a Leadership Development and Performance Success expert and has successfully trained, mentored and coached hundreds of people in her career. To learn more about Mariana, click here