The Great What?

The COO of Warren Pools called a special meeting of the senior staff to address a pressing issue, the so-called great resignation. Almost all the department heads were on edge due to their losses of staff members over the past nine months and because the great resignation was on the TV news every day. For some reason, they all felt the need to do something about it.

The meeting transpired like this:

COO: Guys, we’ve all been hearing about the great resignation. When I first heard about it six months ago, I dismissed it as someone else’s problem. Now it’s clear we’re not immune to it. Let’s look at the data from HR and see what we should do.

HR Head: I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news. We had 24 percent attrition in 2021. The good news is that some other companies have lost even more, and it could have been worse. We’ve also been successful in onboarding quite a few. We’ve been busy in our department because there’s a lot of talent out there searching for new jobs.

COO: How much loss do we have in terms of talent, I mean the people who are not easy to replace?

VP: I lost four key people and a few more that are replaceable. Actually, HR’s been active in helping me backfill. And I’m quite happy with new hires so far. They’re fast learners.

Biz Dev Manager: I lost two key account managers, and I won’t be able to replace Jack Moe.

COO: Do we know where they’re going? Are they being poached by our competitors?

HR Head: We don’t have all the data, but I don’t see our competitors eating our lunch.

COO: How about the backfill? Where are we getting them from?

HR: They’re coming from within the industry, mostly from out of state, not from our competitors.

COO: I guess distance isn’t an issue, since we’ve learned to work from home, correct?

VP: Yes. We can work through that, except for the pool installers, who are all over the place anyways and have to travel.

COO: Has our performance dropped because of this churn?

VP: It did initially. But I’m actually feeling good about the rotation in the long term. We can get talent that fits better, is better motivated, and is a better fit. I suggest we spread our search more nationally. It creates opportunities to make the changes we wanted in our culture.

CEO: People, I’ve been listening to you all. I think the musical chairs we seem forced to play is good for our employees and the company. We can all get better aligned. In fact, I prefer to call what’s going on the great re-alignment, not the great resignation.  That term must have been coined by the media to create anxiety and to hook viewers with sensational stories. We get all worked up thinking of it as another virus. And we say things like, “We’re not immune to it.” I suggest we identify our key players, interview them to ensure our expectations and values are still a match, and think of this as an opportunity to upgrade the culture. I also authorize five percent over-staffing, while good folks are still in the air looking for a place to land. Thanks for this quick meeting.

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