Humans: Tumultuous Exits

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[00:00:27] Hello everyone. And welcome back to another episode today. We're here for season three, episode 21. And I'm so excited to be talking today about humans and the potential disruption that they can have on business and you're like humans? So the term humans for me, I mean, obviously the term human goes a really long way back, I always kind of take this funny tone and say it's always the humans, because it really is, you know, I am super data focused, I'm super tech focused, all of these different things, [00:01:00] but you know what, when something breaks, it's usually the human. When something goes right, it's typically the humans. When tech doesn't work, it's usually human operator error. it's always the humans. A lot of my clients and I will joke, "Oh man, human problem again, or the humans really aced it this time." It's kind of my funny term. Today we're going to be diving into all things human in relation to business. Because we can all think of a time in a business that we've been a part of, and I want you not to think about just your own business or a business that you're leading, but maybe at the beginning of your career, or maybe someone that you know, where someone has left a business, and it has left a gaping hole, and everything stopped. But I think most often, the hole that we perceive there to be isn't always as bad as we think and so what will happen is the business will be going along going along going along, and someone will leave and it's usually when it is under unexpected or not great circumstances Oftentimes that person will [00:02:00] have actually been not the best fit for quite a while but people will continue because we often want to believe in the best for people so although someone maybe you think "hey, I don't know if this person is still the best fit," or "I've had some concerns about their performance," or "things are not 100 percent jiving," or you just feel like something's off. Or maybe you start to see that someone wants to travel more all of a sudden, or they're in a different phase of life than they were in when they started with you. And you can kind of start to see the writing on the wall. But as business owners, we often deal with the biggest fire that is in front of us. And so we don't have the luxury of always saying "hey, I have all of these different things that I need to work on, all of these different things." But they always say, " we'll get to it when we get to it," or "that's not the biggest fire right now." And so sometimes even though we recognize that a personnel issue is not great, we kind of start to see that something may be festering, but we just keep going. And then all of a sudden we're caught by surprise. By surprise, if you're audio only doing the air quotes [00:03:00] there, but we're caught by surprise when suddenly this person is leaving. And oftentimes it isn't until that person leaves that we're then, "oh my goodness, this person is the leader. This is the person who leads the team," you know, all of these different things. And we start to just stress. We start to lose our inability to sell. We lose our inability to continue to grow. We lose our ability to focus. Because suddenly we're worried about, "oh no, Beth Sue is leaving us and she's who we need and she's been here for so long and we need her information and we can't do it without her," and all of these different things. And so it becomes a giant distraction. to what we're doing in the business at the time. And really, as a business owner, our ability to get back on the horse and ride quickly is the success of this situation. Because if we begin to just [00:04:00] really fester in our stress about the situation, all of the momentum stops. If we think about our business as a big snowball, and we're getting that snowball rolling, as soon as we allow something like this to derail it and stop the snowball, it actually takes quite a bit to get it rolling again. And so, we really need to break down where and how should we be getting distracted with these issues? So a couple of weeks ago we had a client of ours who had someone leave their business and it was somewhat unexpected and I'll say somewhat because we did start to see the signs that potentially that person was no longer the greatest fit. More so because the business kept growing and needed more hours, more commitment from this person and this person said, "hey although when I took the role, I thought that I would want to go from part time to full time, now that the full time opportunity is presenting itself. It doesn't align with my life." No problem. This happens all the time. And I always say, so when I am hiring a [00:05:00] part time person, I always say, "it will likely grow into a full time position. Is that something that you could see yourself being potentially interested in?" Because some people will say no. Some people who are maybe working around school pickup drop off if they have children, something like that, they may say, "hey, actually, I don't ever want more hours. I only ever want to work part time". This is great information to know up front when you're staffing and planning. It doesn't necessarily mean that that person will grow into a full time position. Sometimes people think, I'll change their minds later." Sometimes minds do change or maybe they say, "I think I would like it to grow full time in the future." And then when the opportunity presents itself, they say, "you know what, now's not really the best time." We see things go all ways. But, this person in this business wasn't looking to increase their hours and responsibility. They wanted to stay part time. No problem. So, the business starts running a job posting because they're going to hire now to fill the remaining hours. Immediately, this employee is not happy about this. There's a little [00:06:00] tension around people coming in. And one of the biggest red flags that you can see about your own team is how they respond when you start hiring. So, if you think about the fact that you're growing a team, then that team should be welcoming. If you start interviewing people and if you're interviewing in person and, perhaps you've got a receptionist who is greeting people as they come in for their interview or, maybe you've asked someone on your team to set up the interview calls, however those interactions are with them, if that person is not being friendly and welcoming up front, this is always a concern. I always say, a rising tide lifts all boats, but a lot of times that doesn't really work in application and instead what you start to see is people feel like, "oh that person might be better than me." It plays on everyone's insecurities as soon as someone new comes in, " that person might be better than me," "maybe that person does want full time hours. Will that make them a better choice than me?" "Oh my goodness that person's resume looks incredible. Like am I gonna be out of a job?" " Why is that person being paid more [00:07:00] than me?" All of these different things. So we've got this insecurity component, but if people are not friendly and accommodating, that can be a real red flag.
[00:07:07] You want your team to want to grow. And as part of the culture of your business, they really need to understand that there's opportunity for everyone. And yes, the business is growing. That's why we need more people. But again, rising tide lifts all ships. We really need that to be as a part of the culture. That's not something you can change on an interview day. That's something that's really a part of the culture. In this example that we're going through that really made me think about how distracting this can be to a success journey. So, you know this person When I said the business owner was sort of shocked. There were signs, but the timing was quite surprising brand new week person comes in, major blow up in the office, another red flag. And that person leaves. At that time, it was very unclear if the person had quit. It was kind of one of those [00:08:00] head scratchers, "did that just happen?" kind of moments. And sometimes when it comes to HR situations, you are dealing with things that are happening very quickly. It was never the case for that person to be let go that day that, you know, when that business owner came in, on that day of work, she definitely was not thinking "today I'm going to let so and so go." But instead what happened was a big old blow up. And the person left and she thought, "well, I,think she quit?" There was someone else there. So she did have someone and oftentimes HR situations are handled one on one. And you often don't have that. I think everyone, if you're in the online space these days on social media, you see that a lot of people have started recording their termination calls and sharing those. That's never been something that's ever been shared historically in the past, if you think about, people hiring, firing, any kind of HR matter has always been very one on one or, like a couple of people from the organization, but this was never something that was recorded and shared [00:09:00] online for really what is kind of the public judge and jury in the situation of who is right and who is wrong. In this situation, let's highlight the fact that things are moving very quickly. And it can be very distracting from regular business because you can be caught off guard with the timing. Even, like, in this situation where, in some ways, the business owner thought, "this could potentially maybe not be a fit for the person." But she definitely wasn't, you know, thinking, "today is the day." It was more of a, "huh, there were a couple of ripples of thoughts." And I think we've all I've been there at one time or another where you're just not sure if someone fits into the team quite yet. At times people outgrow the business and at times the business outgrows the people. Other times people just grow apart. Oftentimes, especially if you have a younger workforce, if you're hiring predominantly women, well, at one point those people may or may not choose to go and have children and depending on what country you're in, that can really affect certain time off. Now, [00:10:00] I understand that there are men that take time off for children and depending in the country, there can be different requirements. Canadian maternity leave is much longer than US. And so maternity paternity, there's all different options, but at the end of the day, this is something to factor in. And so even though some people have one plan in mind, you might have someone come in that says, "I am super focused on my career and I want a leadership position and I want all the hours you have for me." And then, two years later, she may say, "you know what, actually, I've decided that I want to have a child and I actually don't want to take a leadership position right now because I really want to focus on my family." and so there can be changing priorities, changing variables, and so everything when it comes to the humans is ultimately changing at a very alarming rate. So if we go back to our story that we were kind of talking about, so this person leaves. And this business owner, is now dealing with paperwork. So, again, depending on where you are, there's different paperwork [00:11:00] requirements. And there's also different requirements based on what is allowed. And so in some states in the U. S., you can fire someone, you can let someone go without cause. In other states and provinces, you require a certain amount of cause for certain things. So, you know, if someone quits, that's one thing. If they're fired with cause, that's another. If they're fired without cause, that's another. And so this is something that you need to really understand. Now, we're not going to talk about all of the specifics here today, because we have listeners all over. And so I can't offer specifics in terms of cause, no cause, all that here on the podcast because it wouldn't apply to all our listeners, but I will say it's very important that you as a business owner, leader, manager, understand the specifics of what is and is not allowed in Your area because it's very different based on your area. You need to know, if someone leaves, what is the timing of the requirement? So, so often we see business owners, in Canada, you need to issue a ROE, a [00:12:00] Record of Employment for someone who leaves. A Record of Employment can be done digitally in the portal, or it can be done on an old fashioned carbon copy paper form. But, you have to order them. And so for a business owner who has no portal access, which is more common than you would think, they have no portal access and they have no paper copies, by the time you order them and get them, you will technically be past the deadline of when the employee was supposed to receive them. I've spoken to Service Canada about this at length because I've said well, you used to actually be able to pick them up locally. And so when they stopped doing that, I said, well, what happens now? And, the lady on the phone said to me, this is obviously not on the website, but this is what she said to me. She said, if you are, in the process, you've ordered the forms, you're waiting on the mail to arrive. I've never seen anyone be penalized because you're really making your best effort in order to fulfill your requirements. And I thought, okay, well, that seems reasonable. Except for when you have a person who has left your business and it is not great [00:13:00] terms, and they know that you're supposed to have gotten them that paperwork within a certain length of time, you better believe they're going to be following up and saying, "Hey, you're supposed to have this to me within X number of days. I have not received it. This is a problem," and they're going to harass you for it. They're right. You are supposed to have it within a certain length of time. And as a business owner, you should have had the foresight to have the portal access, have the paper copies that you require. But now your hands are tied because you're literally waiting. Now, if you decide you're going to do them digitally, you still have to wait for a code to arrive in the mail if you don't have access to your portal. And so this is one of those situations where you want to be able to dot the I's and cross the T's. Because in this situation, especially when it's muddy, you want to be able to say, "and here's the paperwork that I'm supposed to have for you." And so while you're not going to get penalized for not having it by any kind of, you know, regulatory body, chances are it will be a point of contention and in these situations you don't need any additional points of contention. So, lesson number one here is you need to know what your [00:14:00] requirements are in terms of timing. Typically the timing is different if you have let someone go, they've been fired or if they've quit based on how long do you have to get their final paycheck to them? How long do you have to get their paperwork to them? Any kind of closing documentation? And what are your requirements in terms of that paperwork and any kind of severance pay, any kind of vacation payouts? You need to know up front. It's too late if you're trying to figure out after the fact. " What am I supposed to be doing here? What am I supposed to have access to?" When we're talking about these types of things that you need to know upfront, if you are choosing to employ people, you need to know what the requirements are and not just when things are all great because so often, when we hire someone especially at the beginning or we grow and grow and grow, we're growing quickly, we don't necessarily always think about what is the plan for if it doesn't work. We don't have an exit plan. We have a go plan. And we don't necessarily need to have it all laid out like a seven layer management [00:15:00] corporation has, but we need to know the basic requirements so that we can fulfill our obligations. In this situation where this person left, back to our story, it became a little unclear whether that person had quit or that person had been fired. In the perspective of the business owner, she had quit. She said, "I don't want to work here anymore. I'm leaving," and from the employee's perspective, she's saying, "no, no, I was fired." These are the kinds of situations where you really have to be able to handle these situations and not get emotional about it because it's moving quickly. This was not a planned conversation. This was not something that she knew was coming up. This was not something she'd gone through in her mind. So things are moving quickly and we don't want to say things that we're going to regret. Oftentimes it's actually that little chunk of time as they're leaving that can really open us up to different issues and liability. The situation is already emotional, Obviously if someone's leaving, and I'm not talking about the people who have come to you and said, "hey I'm retiring" or "I'm moving away and I'm having a going away party," it's the people who are living under some [00:16:00] kind of tumultuous circumstances. And there's so many different ways that that can be handled. And I've been a part of letting people go online. I've been a part of letting people go in person. I've been a part of letting people go when they had to be walked out. I've been a part of trying to retrieve things after, whether that be a company vehicle, cell phone, computer, and these are all the other things that need to be considered. So as someone's leaving your business, is it disruptive to the customers in any way? Is it disruptive to the other employees? Would it perhaps be best handled at the end of the day? And then do they have access to things? If you have people that are in your businesses, they have access to your client list. They have access to your standard operating procedures. They have access to the way that you do things, the way that you train your team. We have a client and she had someone leave her business and move to a different state and start basically a 2.0 of her business. She knew the pricing list. She knew the standard operating procedures. And you know what, at the beginning that business owner was very offended. But her business has never really done a whole [00:17:00] lot. I mean, she exists and she carries on. But you have to be confident enough in your own talents that what you do can't just be repeated. I know easier said than done, but right now focus on hiring the right replacement, focus on making sure that you are compliant. The fact that this person is upset and sending multiple emails and doing all these things, just because that person is sending six or seven emails doesn't mean you need to respond to six or seven emails in that moment. Take a breath. Take a moment remember that anything you say or write in an email could be you know, it's like the crime TV shows, anything you say can be used against you. Yes, and no, but be professional. Try to keep the emotion out. I ended up speaking with this person that had left. I was helping facilitate, the conversation saying, Hey, you know, like and this employee wanted to discuss the situation. And I said, you know what? I'm here to make sure that you receive all the compensation you're supposed to receive, that you get all your paperwork. I wasn't there. I don't know who said what and [00:18:00] at this point, I'm not here to comment on any of that. I'm only here to be a calm person who's going to ensure that you get what you need, that it is fair, that it is compliant, that everybody is happy with the end result. That stance is sometimes hard to do as the person who's involved in the emotional situation. We talked about knowing for your area what you need. If you have to be able to issue ROEs, if you're in Canada, or you have a similar end of employment paperwork that needs to be issued, you need to make sure that you have access and you have the materials that you need to do that. And as much as we all have an employee onboarding checklist, or you should, to make sure that you have everything from that person, you also need an employee offboarding checklist. What do you need? So, you know, if that person has a company phone, do you have a way to unlock it? Because I have seen multiple phones get thrown out because they are literally paperweights. Because someone has wiped them, locked them, and said, yeah, sure, here's your device back, knowing that you can't actually access it. I've seen other people who have, on their way [00:19:00] out wiped devices and phones where that information was actually really needed by the business. So, you know, do you have the appropriate tech set up to make sure that you can number one get your devices back, unlock them, retrieve the information that you need. These are all things that you really need to be thinking of because as much as everyone wants to believe that their team will never leave, that everyone in their team is amazing, at one point someone will leave. It may or may not be a tumultuous exit. And so you need to be prepared. You want to make sure that you can be compliant, that you can be fair, that you can be professional, and that you can remain on track. Because the worst thing that we want is we don't want someone to exit the business and all of the lack of paperwork or all of these requirements and the emotions and everything to take it and wreck your week, your month, your quarter, you want to make sure. We've talked in the past episodes about making sure that you have your standard operating procedures, that you have logins and access that no one in your business is the only person that knows how to do something, [00:20:00] where to access something. We see this where it's like, well, I don't have any access to these things. That person had all the passwords and now they're gone. One story I talk about, and I've talked about this on a few sales calls, really actually from a different perspective, but, I was a part of a business where there were two business partners. This was very early on in my business career. And so one really focused on the manufacturing and one on the office side. The business partner from the office side, he passed away. Here you have people who have been friends for their whole lives. Business partners for their whole adult lives. Working together, growing, doing amazing, two different parts of the business. And one passes away and the other business owner is left scrambling with no understanding of what that other business owner did and no understanding of what needs to be done and he's grieving, and so all of these different things, is your business insured for that situation? It's the human stuff that we need to prepare for. Tech. Your computers, you could have a whole little plan for your computers where you can say, "well we invested you know in this many computers. They last this many years." [00:21:00] You can talk to a tech professional Okay, so we really need to start planning in the budget to replace these computers at this time. Things like that are much easier to plan for when. It comes to humans, it isn't as easy because number one there's variables changing all the time and number two, you have emotions. And they're involved from all sides. When we're talking and thinking about hiring, really, it breaks down into knowing what you need to be compliant upfront, being organized, making sure that the people that you choose to be a part of these human processes in your business are professional, that they maintain confidentiality and professionalism, and that you, as a business owner, and whoever is working on HR in your business, can maintain a neutral emotion about it. If someone's being let go, it's an emotional situation. And we don't need to be rude or unprofessional. We can show compassion, but we can also ensure that we are still keeping the business success in mind and that we're not allowing HR personnel, human things to distract. If it's going to be a tough week because someone was let [00:22:00] go that we're focusing on let's get the right person hired. Let's keep going. Let's make sure we're compliant, professional, but that we keep going. Don't let human things drag out because your emotion gets the best of you because this is what we almost take it personally that there's been a personnel problem and it goes from "Oh, it was a rough day to a rough week," to, "Oh my goodness. It was a rough month and we're still not getting back to business." Lots of lessons discussed here today, the story of someone leaving unexpectedly on not great terms and realizing that that can be very distracting. It can cause great stress as a business owner, especially when you don't have access to what you need in order to be compliant. Because that person is going to then say, "well, you don't know what you're doing and you need to get this paperwork to me and you don't have it." Don't even set yourself up for that situation. Know what you need to do to be compliant. Make sure you have access. Make sure you've planned ahead. And then keep a cool, professional tone when it comes to everything HR. Remember that humans are the lifeblood of your business. There's very few [00:23:00] businesses that will ever scale without the need for humans, team, people. We have to have the processes for onboarding, offboarding, management, and know what is our culture, and ensure that we continue to grow our businesses, and be true to that.

Humans: Tumultuous Exits
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