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Handling employees obviously looking for other jobs

owner employee meeting

Question:

What do you do about an employee who is actively job searching/interviewing and saying that she’s going to give her two weeks notice but hasn’t actually done so?

– Abby Singh, Owner-Operator, Canteen 900, Forty Fort, PA

Answer:

It’s nice that your employee feels comfortable enough to share her plans with her coworkers and with you, but once an employee makes clear that she would rather be working somewhere else, if only she had the opportunity, she becomes a liability for you. You don’t need other employees to hear her reasons for leaving, especially if they are not for personal/career reasons, but rather reasons to which other employees could relate (a competitor offering higher wages or better benefits, for example).

While there’s nothing wrong with her expressing her opinion, and it certainly helps you in planning to know that she intends to leave, it would be a good idea to counsel the employee that you expect her to maintain the same standards she would if she decided to stay. If she doesn’t, you should act accordingly based on your established procedures. She should also be made aware that in general it’s a bad practice to give unofficial notice.

If the employee in question is part-time, you can reduce her hours or take away shifts during this transitional period as your business needs demand. And of course begin interviewing!

Finally, the employee may be fishing for you to offer something more in order to keep her. Given the way she’s approached this—indirectly—I would advise against it unless she’s really talented and you’re really stuck for staff.

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