It’s Thursday afternoon and you get a call. Your employee that called in sick is experiencing mental health issues. She’s going to need to take a medical leave. You support her, so decide to pay her for some time off. She tells you that she should be fine to return in a week. One week turns to two. Two to three. On the fourth week she quits.
Friday morning you hear that another team member is taking the opportunity to take over a family business. He is giving you two weeks notice. This decision comes after losing the team member above, when workload increases while hiring process begins. It seems like a domino effect.
Friday afternoon, you find out a third employee is relocating for her husband’s job in 2 weeks. Unfortunately, you just introduced her to all of your patients / clients after she assured you a move was not even a remote possibility.
Monday morning, a new hire decides she doesn’t like the type of work she is doing. She quits without notice. Her stifling perfectionism had her paralyzed and her contribution was minimal to begin with, but now the turnover hurts the morale of the rest of the team. More dominos fall.
Even for a well-organized, positive leader, this 2 month span felt like a gut punch. That’s right. This happened to me last year. It happened right after I let go of a couple people that I felt were no longer a fit. We were almost completely restaffing overnight.
At this time, I did have a couple amazing team members who have been with me for years and my husband, whose work experience is in recruiting. These three people stuck by my side and helped me make sure all the work was done and done well. Each of us had complimentary skills and worked together like I didn’t believe possible. We carried the workload and overcame one of the most stressful obstacles of business ownership.
Maybe it happened because of karma. When I let go of a few people, maybe I should have invested more time in their development instead of letting them go. I definitely should have become more comfortable with difficult conversations sooner. I used to put off tough talks until I was beyond the point of return. Maybe it happened because I wanted to give even the most unqualified applicant an opportunity and hired with my heart instead of my head. (Thankfully, I’m no longer in charge of hiring.)
Regardless, this time spurred intense introspection and growth. In the following weeks, we completely restaffed.
With our systems, training and leadership team already in place, we made for a quick transition to building an amazing team.
Not a task was forgotten or dropped and 4 people did the work of 10, and we did it very well. That doesn’t mean we loved life in those moments, but we got through it. Yes, the turnover was stressful. The restaffing was challenging, as some new team members were a fit and some were not.
However, it was the most powerful time of growth I’ve ever experienced as a leader. It also made it clear that when you have loyal people who truly have the best interest of the business and your clients’ businesses in place, that you can get through anything.
Perfection is not attainable. Growth has to be a daily pursuit. There’s opportunity in every situation, even those that feel like a crisis. If you can roll up your sleeves, make a plan and hire the missing support pieces, you’ll be strong and able to weather any storm. If you’ve never been through something like this, that’s wonderful. I don’t wish it upon anyone. I can say however, I wouldn’t go back and change it.
When a person leaves, opportunities to improve surface, leaving your organization even stronger and ready for its next challenge.
If you need assistance with staffing, recruiting, team training or system creation, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can connect you with the right fit resource for you. I’ve had a couple business coaches that I adore and would be more than happy to connect you.