At my place of employment we have very low turnover. But it seems that each year one or two of our 120 employees decide they need to work someplace else.
Sometimes we are happy about their decision to leave. In those cases they have been clearly unhappy for a while, and usually unhappiness spreads. The departure will often forestall the spread of unhappiness.
But in some cases we are disappointed, and the departing employee is one we really hate to lose.
Last year our sales were not doing as well as we had forecast and we lost three experienced plant operators when our spring raise was not as high as they had hoped. We explained that we had plans in place to correct this, but due to some long term contracts that would expire at the end of 2006, we could not offer the full intended raise. We promised that by the end of the first quarter of 2007 we would completely correct the imbalance.
Those three didn't want to wait. Jobs for process plant operators are plentiful locally and they had no problem finding comparable jobs with the promise of more money within a few years.
One of the three, in particular, we really hated to lose. The other two were "high maintenance" employees who I was not unhappy to see out the gate.
Well, within six months the "hate-to-lose" guy called, said he'd made a mistake, and asked for his job back. He was reinstated almost immediately. Then, in March, we announced the promised big raise. And in early April, since we'd just met our first quarter profit target, we paid out a significant Profit Sharing distribution into everyone's 401(k) accounts.
Within a few weeks the other two guys called. They were ready to return as well. We have thus far put them off, saying we have no further openings at this point.
Today, one of the two kept a requested appointment with me and his former Production Department boss. He wanted to ask us face-to-face for his job back.
We reminded him that he had been openly unhappy with us for a year before he left, and that little had changed since then. What made him think that now all would be well?
He offered his reasons, but they seemed in the final analysis to revolve around money. Now that our pay was again competitive, things would be OK again.
I'll await a final decision until the Production Department group discusses the situation and tells me what they want to do.
But I'll be surprised if we don't just let him stay at his new job. It may grow on him, and be better for both us AND him in the long run. At this point I'm not sure that things are as bad there as they seem to him now.
That grass has a funny way of changing color based on one's position and situation. Maybe it'll "green up" some over there.