The Death of the Two-Week Notice: Move Past the Old School Way of Thinking
By Dustin Anderson
I once hired a young man right out of high school. He was a hard worker, but rough around the edges. We sent him through our training program, which consists of working side-by-side with an experienced glazier … you know, the old way. At first, this young man’s actions were a little disruptive. He would talk back occasionally or just get frustrated with a situation and not act accordingly. It would have been easy to let him go, but let’s be honest, don’t we all put up with a little bit of the bad in trade for hard work and loyalty?
Fast forward a couple of years … this same young man is now a father, a full-time glazier and his demeanor and personal traits have developed and made him into an employee that we are super proud of. His understanding of our processes and procedures is clear and he’s training the next full-time glazier on his work truck daily. I’m so proud of this guy that I feature him on the company social media page as well as my personal page.
GETTING THE CALL
As I’ve said before, I’m a huge fan of attending industry trade shows. I had scheduled my supervisor team consisting of my residential and commercial supervisors, as well as my lead estimator to attend an industry trade show with me. I went down a day early to the show and had scheduled my team to meet me there the second day. This would leave a well-trained young man to run the proverbial “show” in the office. When this was mentioned in the months prior to planning, our truck lead seemed nervous, but this faded as we got closer to the actual event and we all felt confident that it would be a success.
Now picture this: it’s 4:30 a.m. on the day of the show and I wake up for some random reason. My phone is lit up so I decide to check it. The text I received at 2:36 a.m. from my new star employee read like this: “Hey, Boss, I’m sorry to inform you that I have to quit. It’s not against you, cause you’re probably the best boss I’ll ever have. It’s more for me and my family. I’m sorry it has to be probably the worst* (word substituted for his expletive*) way to quit.”
I’m barely awake and this young man, who I’ve poured into, has just quit without a notice. I was furious. I responded and asked “don’t I deserve a two-week notice?” He simply responded he was unable to give one based of the parameters of accepting his new job.
I calmed down the following day and began thinking through the idea of the two-week notice. I realized that from a business-owner perspective, I appreciate it, but to expect it is just setting me up for failure. I knew when hiring people I would tell them that if they needed to turn in a notice, that we would see them in two weeks. Otherwise, we’d see them tomorrow. I realized that I was part of this issue. I was accepting of the idea that my new hire wouldn’t be turning in a notice for his current job.
As an industry, we aren’t in the position to wait. We want quality employees and we need them yesterday. This was the moment that my entire position on a two-week notice changed.
ADAPTING TO CHANGE
I knew that going forward I’d need to be prepared to lose my best workers at any moment and that mentality would help me get through those hard moments. It also opened dialogue with my current staff, so they know that I understand new opportunities will arise and I’m okay with them improving their life situations. That has turned into a more transparent conversation with some—not all, but some—of our employees. We’ve been told more often that there is another opportunity for them and they’ve even given us the option to attempt to match those offers. This isn’t always the case, but the conversation happens more now than before.
I believe that this open-minded form of communication is a great way to attempt to bridge that gap. In the mean-time … be prepared for it. It won’t make the loss any easier, but it will help with the mental stress.
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