Top 5 Ways HCM Software Supports Your Small Business

Today we have a sponsored post from my friends at Ultimate Software. I mentioned that I joined Ultimate Software at their annual user conference in March. I had the privilege of hearing Adam Rogers, their CTO, introduce new updates, interview Will Smith and share Ultimate’s vision for the future. To say I was impressed with both him and the company would be an understatement. I think you’ll enjoy what he has to say as well.

Guest Post: Adam Rogers, CTO, Ultimate Software

For many small businesses that begin with a small team and a dream, HR responsibilities are managed by a cross-functional manager or sole in-house administrator. This approach suffices for a time, but as your company grows, a more comprehensive and effective strategy is needed. Efficiency is critical for small businesses with limited resources, and the right software streamlines time-intensive tasks while alleviating HR challenges. The result? Your efforts are spent strategically growing your business – not updating spreadsheets.

Affordable solutions are available for companies of every size, and they can make a meaningful difference for you and your employees. How? Here are 5 ways your small business can benefit from HCM technology.

1. Consolidate tactical activities
Time is money, and having key employees completing basic administrative tasks consumes both. Today’s solutions streamline otherwise time-intensive tasks, improving productivity, organizations, and effectiveness. Time and attendance management, payroll, and benefits administration are all easily managed by HCM solutions. Most also utilize direct access for both employees and managers, allowing your people to update their personal data and handle leave balance, leave requests, and approvals without any help or interventions while ensuring your business has accurate real-time information for reporting and compliance.

2. Keep tabs on regulatory compliance
Staying on top of compliance is practically a full-time job. Regulatory requirements vary from county to county, but even small businesses are expected to comply with the unique labor, taxation, insurance and healthcare laws of each. With the rise of “gig economy” and increased popularity of remote workers, it’s never been more critical to have a partner ensuring your legal adherence.

3. Progressive talent management
Acquiring and retaining employees is a crucial aspect of every organization. For many small businesses, this is an unrealized opportunity for improvement with technology. Look for a provider that can manage the complete recruiting experience, onboarding, open enrollment, compensation, performance and succession management, and uses social collaboration tools. Some HCM software even allows you to set specific, measureable goals with your employees, monitoring and reporting progress on an ongoing basis. By capturing various data points and journaling throughout the year, performance reviews become more of an ongoing collaborative process benefiting the employee, manager, and the business.

4. Advanced analytics for strategic development
Data is at the heart of every solid strategy, and compiling, accessing, and understanding actions as a result of that data has never been easier. Advanced reporting and analytics provide rich insight into key workforce metrics such as turnover trends and overtime hours, and predictive analytics can help predict future high performers and flight risks. Some solutions even offer prescriptive analytics, guiding leaders through crucial leadership actions with a variety of fact-based, real-time suggestions. Businesses can also gain invaluable data-based insight into their culture and overall employee experience by employing sophisticated pulse surveys. Using natural language processing (NLP) and sentiment-analysis technology, these innovative additions can decode text-based, open-ended questions and uncover the true voice of employees in real time.

5. Career and personal development
Numerous studies show that people value learning and career development opportunities, and offering ongoing learning stands to benefit employees and businesses alike. In addition to increased satisfaction, performance is likely to improve, as well as the value your employee brings to the role. Look for HCM software with a learning management platform that mirrors how today’s employees prefer to learn – collaboratively and on demand.

HCM technology is an investment, but there are affordable solutions for businesses of all sizes and the result can be truly game-changing. Reduced labor costs, increased efficiencies, and strategic opportunities are perhaps even more important for small businesses than they are for larger ones. I suggest looking for a solution that can grow with you- even if you’re only interested in time and labor management and payroll right now, a centralized HR solution can evolve and adapt as your business, budget, and needs grow.





Acacia HR Celebrates Six Years…

Six year anniversary

Had you told me in the beginning that in six years I would be working from my office overlooking the ocean (because in that time we also moved to LA) or that one of my dearest friends and favorite co-workers would be working with me, I wouldn’t have believed you. In the beginning, I’m not sure how I thought things would shake out, or even that they would. I was just taking it one day at a time, trying to do something that allowed me to balance working and being a mom and a wife.

And now here we are.

I mentioned when I announced that Christine joined the team that I don’t really consider the first few years of the business as legit. I worked so part time and had no real clarity around what I was doing that it’s amazing I made any money at all…much less built a business.

By pure luck and stumbling and fumbling through every day and somehow ending up right side up, we are celebrating six years.

Six years of helping small businesses think like big businesses.

Six years of conferences, speaking engagements and blogging.

Six years of the roller coaster emotions that go along with being an entrepreneur.

Six years that I wouldn’t trade for an office job.

Six years that I’m proud of, even if some of them have been ugly.

I’m excited for the next six years. I expect more roller coaster emotions and wonder if I will ever have a year where I don’t doubt that I can actually do this…even while doing it. Regardless, it’s exciting.

I love what Christine and I have planned. I am so encouraged by all the work that is being done and the goals we have set for this business. I am thankful for clients who let me in to their world and trust me to handle programs and policies that focus on their most precious asset. I am forever grateful for their patience when I don’t always get it right.

More than anything though I love what I’m doing.

I’m proud of this niche we serve. The niche that is often forgotten in a race to serve big business.

So much more to come on this, but for now I’m just going to say Happy Anniversary to us. Here’s to another six years…

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#WorkHuman Regional Event and Annual Conference – So Much to Look Forward To


Continuing down my year of “whose life am I living?”, I’ll be attending my first WorkHuman Regional Forum next week in Los Angeles (Orange County to be exact) at the amazing Pelican Hill Resort. Not only am I attending, but they trusted me enough to speak. I’m super excited.

I will be speaking about people-centric workplaces. Ones who put employees right up there in importance with their customers – if not above. Ones who do more than say they are a great place to work, but who actually are. Ones who build programs that motivate and inspire rather than denigrate. Ones who know that their only chance of long term success lies within every person they employ and act accordingly.

Unfortunately they are few and far between. I believe Globoforce is one of those companies and I’m excited to spend the day with them to get that message out. I will upload my slides to slideshare/LinkedIn after the event.

In May I will be attending their annual WorkHuman conference. I mentioned before how honored I am to be attending this event. Everyone who has attended this conference tells me it’s one of the best so I can not wait to see it for myself. They just added former First Lady Michelle Obama to the speaker lineup.

There is still time to attend both of these events. To attend the WorkHuman conference in Phoenix, you can register here. Use my code: WH17INF-SBA to save off the registration rate.

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Acacia HR is Growing – Please Welcome Christine Kopp!

Christine Kopp and Sabrina Baker

When I started this business I did so not because I really wanted to be a consultant or an entrepreneur, but because I wanted to be a mom. If you have read this blog for a while or heard me speak, you know my story. Cliff notes version: I went on maternity leave with my now 7 year old, was told three weeks before I was to return that I would be laid off. New baby, personality not conducive to being a stay at home mom and living in a city where having only an hour commute was a luxury. So I branched out on my own and 6 years later, here we are.

In those early days I worked very part time. I almost don’t consider the first two years of the business as real because I worked maybe two days a week (not 8 hour days) and dedicated most of that time to my son. I did do a lot of dreaming during those days though and over and over there were two things I would tell my husband about my business.

First, when I hired I wanted to make sure that I gave people the same opportunity I had. The opportunity to build their work around their life and not the other way around. The typical 8-5, M-F, take time off if you need to take your kid to the doctor doesn’t have to, and won’t, apply to this business. Anyone I hire can work when they want, how they want as long as the work gets done. They don’t ever have to worry about taking time off to be with a sick kid or taking a Tuesday off just because they want. On Friday, if their work for the week is done, I genuinely don’t care how they made it happen.

Second, when I hired, I had a list of people I wanted to bring on board. At the top of the list was Christine Kopp. Christine and I worked together at ACCENT Marketing – a call center company. We all have those co-workers who become friends and Christine is one of those people. Before either of us had kids, we vacationed together, traveled for work together and always worked really well together both at work and outside of work.

I’m so happy to announce that with my first hire, I’ve done both of the above. Hired Christine and given her the opportunity to work around her life. She’s busy. She has three girls.

Three girls. Seriously.

I had been thinking of hiring help for a while. The business doubled in revenue last year and quite frankly, this is long overdue. Christine reached out earlier this year asking about something she saw that would allow her to work from home, still be flexible with her girls, but keep her relevant in HR for when she was ready to go back to work. I took it as a sign and pitched the idea of her joining me.

She took the bait.

I was a little worried that she might not. If you’ve ever worked in a small business before, you know that roles are hard to define initially and everyone has to do a little bit of everything. Christine will be an HR Consultant but will be helping me in other areas of the business as well. She is a benefit expert and has worked as a generalist so her experience is very well rounded.

Plus, she is the extrovert that every introvert needs. The one who appreciates the introverts need for alone time, but also encourages them to get out of their minds every once in a while. We balance each other out and that makes for a great team.

Christine joined me last week in sunny CA (she lives in Kansas City) to do a little on-boarding and brainstorming and I’m excited about where this is going. There will be lots more to come from her and about her in the coming weeks.

The business turns 6 on April 19th so look for a formal press release on Christine and more info on the blog, but I didn’t want to wait until then to announce her hire.

You can read her more formal work information on LinkedIn and connect with her on Twitter.

Please send her well wishes and a few prayers – working with me ain’t easy!

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#DisruptHR Los Angeles – Coming Back for Round Two!


I think it’s funny when HR people are irreverent. Mostly because we have to be so buttoned up all the time, but also because it proves we are humans….who cuss….and get angry….and hate our jobs. Well, some of you may hate your job, I love mine.

DisruptHR offers HR and recruiting professionals a chance to be irreverent. Or reverent but in a out of the box thinking kind of way. I, and my cohort James Kinney, run the Los Angeles chapter of DisruptHR and will be hosting our second event on Wednesday, April 12th.

#DisruptHR Los Angeles is happening 4/12. Find out more at Click To Tweet

The event will happen at the beautiful Haworth showroom in Downtown Los Angeles. Globally, Haworth improves workplaces with award-winning furniture, interior architecture and technology solutions to help customers achieve business goals and transform culture, as well as support collaboration and innovation. Research and design drive a deep understanding of agile workplace needs and are at the center of the company’s strategy. Haworth is committed to protecting and restoring the environment, creating economic value as well as supporting and strengthening its communities. Founded in 1948, Haworth remains family-owned and privately-held, serving markets in more than 120 countries through a global network of 650 dealers and over 6,000 employees.

Haworth is our main sponsor and we are excited to partner with them for this event.

Other companies partnering with us to make this happen include ADP, Miller Farm Media, United Agencies Insurance and Ceridian.

We couldn’t make it happen without our partners and we appreciate their support.

Speaker lineupDisruptHR wouldn’t be what it is without an amazing speaker lineup. We have a few repeat offenders in our lineup this time round, Alan Fluhrer, Scott Hamilton and Candice Gottlieb-Clark have all presented before. We also have a few first timers who I’m really excited to hear.

DisruptHR has really taken off over the last couple of years and is now in 75 cities around the globe. Attendees really love the format, 5 minutes, 20 slides that auto advance every 15 seconds and a topic that makes people think. Bite sized pieces of information that are packed with a punch.

If you haven’t attended a Disrupt event, you should add it to your to do list. If you are in the Los Angeles area, we would love to have your join ours. You can get your tickets here!

I would love to see you on the 12th. If you make it, be sure to come up and introduce yourself.


Elevated, Enlightened and Engaged at UltiConnect 2017

Ultimate Software

A few weeks back I shared my schedule for the next few months. It is full of amazing events and conferences. First up was Ultimate Software’s annual user conference, Connections. This event took place last week in Las Vegas.

I have to say, and I’m not just blowing smoke here, I was really impressed. I’m a bit ashamed to say that I didn’t know as much about Ultimate as I should have prior to going. I knew what they did of course, but didn’t really understand the history or the mission of the company. Now that I do, and have seen how their “People First” mantra is not just a nice thing to say, but something they really believe, I really want to learn even more.

If you are unaware, Ultimate’s product is called UltiPro and it is a complete human capital management solution. It offers HRIS, payroll, benefit administration and everything you would expect from an HCM solution. They have been refining this solution for a number of years and one thing I heard from customers last week was that it truly does get better with every new update.

At this conference they rolled out many new solutions including a learning management solution, survey tools and their first foray into artificial intelligence called Xander. The biggest update, at least according to audience applause was from the roll out of the Ultimate app. We all love our apps right?

Before I go on, I know my audience will be asking one question. How small a business can you be to use UltiPro. I’m happy to report that UltiPro extends to all businesses over 100 employees. Considering many software companies look at 250 or above, this is very nice.

Here’s where I think small businesses can benefit from UltiPro. First, much like my services, it is a “grow with you” solution. At 100 employees you may only need, or have the budget for, a payroll solution. Then as you grow you may want to add applicant tracking or benefit administration. Then as your CEO sees how much UltiPro is helping and gives you a greater budget (hey we can all dream right) you can add more and more. From my understanding many of these are select and go features meaning you choose to add the service right on your dashboard and it’s ready to use.

Second, the most common theme from last week was around the relationships customers had with their Executive Relationship Manager (ERM). This is their direct contact for all UltiPro services. One contact. One person to call. One person emailing you. One person. Uno. Eins. Un. You get my point. No calling a customer service line and getting whoever you get so you have to explain your business over and over.

Worth it’s weight in gold am I right?

Especially for small businesses who almost always have unique situations that they get sick of explaining over and over. What’s more, I did not hear one person complaining about their ERM. Now I’m not naive enough to think that doesn’t happen (and I doubt Ultimate is either), but to be at an event of 2900 customers and hear nothing but positive from people I asked directly and those whose conversation I listened in on (read eavesdropping), says something.

Something really positive.

Third, along the same vein, it appears Ultimate really listens to their customers. I think any company who brings their customers to Vegas and treats them the way Ultimate did is proving they care, but from everything I saw, they truly take customer feedback to heart and want to make their product better for you. Not every software company can say this. They even have an onsite code-a-thon where they take customer ideas and code away over the course of 48 hours onsite to make them happen before the conference ends. Pretty cool stuff.

Plus Will Smith (yes, the Will Smith), Tim Urban (hilarious), Carrie Lohrenz (bad ass fighter pilot), real lunches (not boxed) and Maroon 5 (which I missed because mommy duty, but heard it was incredible).

They know how to do it right.

For more specific thoughts about the event you can read fellow bloggers, Tim Sackett and Jeff Waldman’s posts.
What If You Could Predict All Of Your Turnover?
Every Moment Matters
HR Tech Companies Can Also Be Awesome Places to Work
Why Should You Really Care About Technology?

Here’s the deal you guys. I get requests at least once a week from readers asking about software solutions. I refer companies based on a few criteria. They have to have a solution for small businesses, they have to have a solution that fits your needs and can grow with you and I need to know that good people are running the show. Ultimate fits all three of these criteria.

And who knows, maybe one day we’ll convince them to offer something to even the smallest of you.

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The Reality of Being an Entrepreneur

reality of being an entrepreneur

It is 7:15 am on a Tuesday. I’m sitting in LAX. I’ve been up for 3 hours, but feel like I didn’t sleep at all. My Uber driver made me car sick, something that rarely happens. A woman is eating, what I can only assume, is onions with a side of burger for breakfast only adding to my nausea. I have 30 minutes until boarding. The woman next to me asked what I did for a living. She then told me how lucky I was to own my own business, make my own schedule and be able to balance life and work.

Except I don’t feel lucky at the moment. I feel guilty.

Guilty because my child lost his mind this morning over me leaving. He got so worked up in fact that he made himself sick. Few things activate mom guilt more than hearing your child crying over you leaving and then walking out that door.

Because while I might be lucky for the reasons airport lady pointed out above, I’m also facing the reality of being an entrepreneur. Sometimes it hits me like a ton of bricks.

Being an entrepreneur is hard. Really hard. And while 90% of the time I love it, there are still days when I think it might be easier to just go back to a normal job. One where I….

Only have to focus on HR, not sales, marketing and finance too.

Can take a legitimate day off, turn off my phone and not worry about what may happen.

One where someone else is footing the bill for supplies, advertising and travel.

One where I work a standard 8-5(ish) and get to call it a day.

While these days of wondering what it might be like to go back into the regular working world are fewer and farther between than they were in the earlier days of my business, they still happen. I guess it’s a little bit of a pity party that I throw myself every once in a while and then move on. Move on because I realize that a normal job wouldn’t allow me to….

Work my work around my life, not the other way around.

Travel to multiple conferences throughout the year and meet amazing people. Most corporate jobs would only allow me to travel to one, if even that.

Be there for my son’s school plays, doctor’s appointments and sick days. Even if being there means he loses his mind the few days that I’m not.

I am lucky, but make no mistake. I work hard for this. As does every other entrepreneur out there. Every time someone asks me what it’s like owning my own business I first tell them how hard it is. Sure there are tons of perks, but it is not all glamorous. I’m guilty of looking at other business owners and thinking they have it so great only to remind myself that they worked their butts off to get where they are too.

And that they have days where they are sitting in an airport with the smell of onions permeating the air wondering if it’s all worth it.

It is. I know it is even if mom guilt is making me think twice right now. He’ll be fine. This is good for him…and me. I know this even if it doesn’t make it any easier.

That’s the reality of being an entrepreneur. If you are considering it, know this. While you will do some of the most rewarding work in your life, you will also work harder in less than sexy conditions than you ever have. You will stretch your mind and your resolve in ways that are hard to understand until you do it.

Enough of the pity party. Who can really complain about spending 3 days in Vegas?


The Perils of Stop and Go Leadership

stop and go leadership

So the word perils may be a bit dramatic. I probably should say “the frustration of stop and go leadership” but perils makes for a better headline. An interaction with a client this week had me chuckling about this idea of stop and go leadership. An idea that, when I first started my business, used to frustrate me to no end. Now I’ve realized it is part of the job and while still frustrating, all I can do is coach to it and move on. Here’s what I’m talking about.

At least once a week I get a call from one or two of my clients who I now know are “stop and go leaders”. This means they call with an urgent project or hiring request or employee matter and they want me to get on it right away. We come up with a plan of action and hang up the phone.

I jump immediately on my part and maybe even move things around or stay up late working on, what seemed to be, an urgent matter. Then….crickets. Nothing for days or even weeks. When I send emails or texts (because introverts do not talk on the phone) they are blown off. What seemed so urgent is now, not. At least until it becomes top of mind for that leader again.

Stop and go leadership.

I used to get really frustrated by this, but now I’ve learned to identify stop and go leaders and work with them for what they are. When they call I no longer jump. I wait to see if they mention it again in a few days time. If they do, I’ll know it is something they are serious about. If they don’t, I wait until they get serious before putting any real effort in on my part. I have too much to do to jump at every “urgent for five minutes” ideas that one of these leaders get. And here’s the thing…

Their employees know it too.

It isn’t hard to realize who these leaders are. While on the surface leading this way may seem harmless, it isn’t. Leaders who I have called on this often tell me that they just get caught up in more important stuff and while this “thing” was important at the time, they didn’t realize the other stuff that was going to come up that took precedence.

An excuse. At times a valid one, but still an excuse.

Stop and go leaders lose credibility. Any sense of urgency employees may have once given their ideas, are lost after the first couple of “stops”. They are seen as reactionary and fickle. In short, they are not taken seriously.

And that can be a major problem.

Especially when it comes to things like disciplinary action.

Or recruiting.

Or new project implementation.

Or innovation.

Or really anything else the leader wants taken seriously.

I find that most leaders do not know they are “stop and go” leaders until it is pointed out to them. They don’t realize how jumping on and off a band wagon is hurting not only their credibility but productivity. Some of them even get upset when things are done months after an initial conversation not realizing that it was their stop and start mentality that drove the delays.

If you believe you may be a stop and go leader, then ask yourself if you find that you go down many paths but rarely finish any of them. Ask your employees if they find that you get fired up about a project or new idea, but that passion quickly fades. Ask them if they find that you are fickle and if they purposefully don’t react when you ask for something because they know you may change your mind tomorrow.

Then ask yourself what you are going to do about it. If it’s hurting productivity or your credibility then something must change. Think about how you might be more strategic in giving direction or how you might identify when things are really necessary to share and move forward or when you may need to sit on things for a while before getting everyone moving.

As mentioned, much of stop and go leadership is harmless, but for the things that matter, like a leaders ability to move a team forward, it can be crippling.

Have you worked for a stop and go leader? How did you respond to them?


Leaders: Are You Really Listening?

A few months ago a CEO called and this conversation ensued:

CEO: “I’ve been told Frank is going to come into my office and complain about Steve. He thinks Steve is getting preferential treatment since we go to lunch together everyday. What should I tell Frank?”

S: “Well I think you should listen to what Frank has to say and see if he has any valid concerns.”

CEO: “Right, but he doesn’t.”

S: “How do you know if you haven’t talked to him yet.”

CEO: “Because Steve isn’t getting preferential treatment. I will just act like I hear him, say I understand his concerns and hope he gets over it.”

Now let me say that this CEO is one of the good ones. Don’t judge him by this interaction because normally he gets it. This was during a tumultuous time in the business and the CEO had many other things on his mind. He felt like he didn’t have time to worry about this and wanted it to just go away.

And it is during those times in a leader’s life when I find our capacity to really listen to anything beyond what our mind is focused on diminishes. This conversation with Frank and his issues seemed so minuscule to this CEO in light of everything else the business was facing that he just didn’t want to give it the time of day.

So he didn’t listen. He took the meeting, pretended to listen, thanked Frank for his time and didn’t give it another thought. Until it blew up in his face a few months later when he realized several people had the same perceptions of Steve and it created a rip in his leadership team that took a while to overcome.

Listening, really listening, is often the single most important thing we can do as leaders. We know this. We realize that we must listen. We have seen the memes and read the quotes about listening to understand rather than respond. We have heard speakers tout the powers of listening for decades. Nothing new. Nothing revolutionary. And yet…..

Today I received a call from a client who was in a similar situation. She knew that an employee was coming in to complain about something and wanted advice on how to handle it. More than likely, this employee just needs to get some things off her chest and so the first thing this leader must do is simply listen.

So easy and yet we make it so hard.

We all say we are good listeners, but I think what we often are doing is being patient. Patiently waiting for the person to stop talking so we can say we listened without actually doing it.

So I will ask you. Are you really listening?

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We Don’t Negotiate with Terrorists or Make Counter Offers…Usually

counter offers

One of my first clients was a small business who was three months from a massive hiring initiative. They were on the cusp of securing their second round of funding and when that happened, they were going to be doubling in size. They brought me in to create a hiring and on-boarding process that would ensure they hired the best they could during this time of growth. During the project an employee who had been with the company since day one and was very valuable to the team gave notice. While sitting with the CEO this employee’s line manager came in the room to share the news. The line manager wanted to make a counter offer as it appeared the motive for the move was based solely on salary. Without hesitation or any further questions the CEO said, “We do not negotiate with terrorists. Please accept the resignation immediately.”

Both I and the line manager were taken aback. The line manager just stared and then turned to me with that look that you know is a plea for help. I asked the CEO if he could help us understand his reasoning. While I agree that counter offers are a tricky thing and generally my thought is that they shouldn’t be made, I do usually like to fully understand and think through the situation before just saying no. I wondered if he might want to do the same.

He didn’t. He was firm on his answer. The employee’s resignation was accepted immediately. I will never forget the bewildered look on everyone’s face, especially the employee leaving, as he walked out.

Later, after the dust settled, the CEO explained his though process. It was his strong belief that people needed to believe in the business in which they worked. They needed to buy into the mission and company goals. They needed to enjoy their work and feel as though they were making a difference. He was committed to doing everything on his end to make that happen, but an employee had to take some responsibility too. Any employee who was willing to leave for money was not bought in. This employee had been with the company from day one. They had helped build something from the ground up and, the CEO thought, was as mission focused as he was. This was an employee who the CEO had spent a lot of time with. He had cast vision and asked for the employee’s feedback which he took very seriously. He was committed to this employee’s success and thought the employee felt the same. If the employee was willing to leave for money, he clearly wasn’t.

There are lots of “buts” that you could throw at this CEO, but ultimately, I agree with his line of thinking. Small businesses, especially those in startup mode, need employees who buy into the vision even if it’s going to take a lot of work to realize it. Someone who is motivated by money may only continue to be motivated by money. Had the CEO countered, there was no guarantee that six months down the road, another offer would be made for even more that would prompt the employee to want to leave again.

Last week a small business client, not in startup mode, had a highly valuable employee give notice in a similar fashion. Her departure would have left the company in a real lurch. Sure, we could replace her, but the time it took to replace her would have put the company behind. The company decided to counter and she stayed. It was the right decision for them at this time in their business.

The situations, although seemingly similar, were quite different. The first story’s employee was an exempt employee on the path to an executive level position. The second is an hourly worker with no immediate upward mobility opportunities, or demonstrated desire for them even if they existed. The first story was not going to experience a great dip in productivity if the employee left. They would need to replace him, but his work could fairly easily be put on others for the time being. Actually his opening left room for promotional opportunities for others and ended up being a win for the company. The second story would have taken a hit. This was their best employee, in a crucial department and the work could not be split as easily. The time it would have taken to regain lost productivity cost more than the dollars to counter.

In general, I don’t like counter offers. I think that if employees are unhappy enough, or motivated by money enough, to entertain other options, then throwing money at them is only a temporary fix. Having said, that, there are times when it may make sense even if it is only a temporary fix. I think what is important is that small business leaders think through their philosophy on this now, before it happens.

As a part of workforce planning, which all businesses should be doing, conversations need to be had about what would happen if employees were to give notice. Beyond just those you know may be looking or on their way out the door, but those who would absolutely surprise you if they said they were leaving, what would you do about those employees?

Waiting until it happens to think about your stance on it could lead to a rash decision. There is no right answer here and even if you take a stand, it doesn’t mean there won’t be times when you have to reconsider, but at some point in your business it is going to happen. Think now about what you might do.

Does your small business have a policy on counter offers? I would love to hear about it in the comments below.

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