While there may be disagreement as to the current status of the work environment, most intelligent/competent people would agree that unemployment is low and the job market is beginning to tighten. The U.S. unemployment rate is at a sixteen (16) year low - 4.3%. In fact, there are 73 counties in the United States with unemployment rates of 2% or less based upon recent Bureau of Labor statistics. In this type of environment, talented Employees in your employ will be in higher demand, especially in a highly competitive industrial environment. Whether or not some have the perception of "manufacturing jobs" as "dirty work or low class" or that being "college educated" is an absolute requirement, the availability of experienced personnel with manufacturing skills is a growing talent shortage. While you may have in place Confidentiality, Non-Solicitation and Non-Compete Agreements, these documents, in and of themselves, do not totally protect an Employer. Employers must have a plan in place to address and deal with the unexpected departure of an Employee.
Here are three (3) actions that Employers should consider taking when one of its talented Employees resigns:
1. Do not panic! Most Employers have a written protocol to address Employee resignations/terminations. If you do not have such a protocol, it may be a wise decision to prepare one. Follow that protocol with each and every Employee who resigns or is terminated. This avoids the appearance of any impropriety, favoritism, or bias and, as well, establishes for the rest of the Employee Complement that Employees are fairly and properly treated. This will inure to the benefit of the Employer in enhanced Employee morale and may even have value in "helping in the employ" one or two individuals.
2. Make sure that the Personnel File of the departing Employee is protected. Keeping a paper and electronic copy of Personnel Files may be extremely beneficial to an Employer. Remember that the human mind or memory is degenerative - things can and will be forgotten. A secure Personnel File will really come in handy if issues arise involving the resigning or terminated Employee. If the Employee is, in fact, resigning, it could be extremely beneficial to have a Letter of Resignation in the Employee's own handwriting as part of that Personnel File.
3. We are in a vast and sometimes overused Technical Age. Computers, smart phones, tablets, etc. are in constant use by Employees on behalf of the Employer. Any Employer has reaped the benefits of instant access to these Employees via their use. However, there is a downside - the Employees who are leaving can use those computers, smart phones and tablets to copy, forward or destroy company information. When an Employee advises you that they are leaving, you must act quickly to limit that Employee's access to proprietary information and the cloning of company issued computers, phones and/or tablets. It may also be advantageous to have backups of the Employee's work files and e-mails to not only facilitate continuity of your business operation but also to determine whether the leaving Employee had "bad intentions" in deleting or forwarding company data.
Whenever an Employee leaves an organization, there is some loss or impact to the continuity of the business. Having the right game plan in place to deal with an Employee's leaving will help bridge the gap of that loss.
Questions? Contact Walter Liszka in our Chicago office at (312) 629-9300 or by email at [email protected]