This week, we are exploring the management of exit strategies.
The days of getting a job when you’re sixteen, working hard because of an inherently high work ethic, and staying in the same job until you retire are long gone – or are few and far between. There are lots of theories about how many different careers someone would have by the time they retire. In my own case, I’ve worked for many different employers, across three different professions – coincidentally the first and most recent profession is the same - agriculture.
So, let’s start with how you might leave a business? Once employed, this can be directed by either an employee or employer.
One way to exit a business is by resignation.
Resignation is the form of exiting a business that is directed by the employee.
Regardless of the reason for wanting to resign, there are ways to do it so that bridges are not burned.
Remember the farmer from Week 1? Tom Lindsay, Dairy Farmer from Bishops bourne also joined us for a tutorial discussion. Tom recounted a story about an employee that had told him where to stick his job.
Following this, the worker informed Tom that he would be out of the house he was getting as part of salary package in 2 weeks. Now, if you’re anything like me – when someone is abrupt to you and even abuses you, it’s very unlikely you will have immediate compassion and want to help them.
At best, you might not respond at all, which is probably advisable. At worst, you might respond the same way. Tom told him that if he felt that way about the job, he needed to be out of the house by the end of the day. The worker was astounded by Tom’s response and protested profusely – with very polite language – not. In this case, the worker obviously didn't connect his housing arrangement with his attitude towards his job.
So, the lesson from this is that if you’re going to resign in this fashion, you need a very good contingency plan. Leaving a job is not unlike getting a job in the first place. Arrive with dignity and respect – leave in the same way. You might recall my story from last week about my first farm job. It was actually with Tom’s father. I worked for him for about 12 months, full time over summer and a day a week for the remainder of the year. I left on good terms. Twenty years later I came back to the farm as a consultant. Tom was very happy to engage my services. I’d kept my bridges open. Even if you hate your job, the employer is a tyrant or the workplace uncomfortable to be in, you always leave with dignity and respect.
Another way of exiting a business is through termination.
Termination is the form of exiting a business that is directed by the employer
When you are in a management position, there are many reasons for terminating an employee’s position:
The first reason is that the work dries up. For example, this is a real challenge for smaller agronomy companies that rely on being contracted annually by individual growers. If the season is not shaping up very well, paid advice is the first to go. I’ve had comments like – Sorry mate, I can’t afford your services this year – last year’s yield was good, but the prices weren’t. As an employee in this situation, the business can’t keep paying you if you don’t bring in enough work.
The second reason is Company restructure, takeover by or merger with a competitor. Positions are made redundant and costs may need to be reduced. This is the story told with one such recent case in Tasmania. The takeover of an onion processor. Refer to this link:
Although we don’t know the real story, it does highlight the potential for job shedding in these situations.
The third reason for termination is when someone is Performance managed out of the position – this occurs when either an employee is just not suited to the position and has come to the end of their probation period, or consistently poor performance even from a long term employee.
The last reason for termination is from Misconduct – it probably doesn't need any further explanation and we also covered some of this in week 5 with my story about a young man in Laos.
Managing these exit strategies are a challenge for business managers. Refer to the following, which gives us some strategies about how people exit employment.
Then there is the exit interview. The following video describes this from an employee’s perspective.
There are some further readings that may be helpful for questions like: