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a blog by Chris Barrow

About those people who join your business and then quit soon after

Once more, this morning, I wake to an email announcing the sudden and unexpected resignation of a recently recruited Practice Manager.

In recent months I've seen various reasons given, including:

  • Going to work for a corporate - more money and better career prospects;

  • Going to work for a dental supply company - more money and more work from home;

  • Going to work for an alternative practice - more money.

The thing that baffles me is that people are also coming back in to owner-managed practices and taking jobs because:

  • It's less money but I've had enough of corporate life - the 7-day weeks and the WhatsApp messages at 21:00 asking for reports by 09:00 the next morning - oh and the politics;

  • It's less money but I've had enough of working for a manufacturing or supply company - the same 7-day weeks and endless messaging;

  • It's less money but I want to work in a family business and not for The Borg.

In simple terms, there are two ways to respond when the going gets tough:

  1. Get going and toughen up or

  2. Run away to the next false hope of an easier life.

A part of me feels sorry for those who bounce from one job to another, either chasing a few pounds more or a few hours less. You can see it from their CVs most of the time (and they always have a reason to blame their former employer). They will never be happy.

I used to work in corporate UK and I know that the "extra" money used to poach someone means that they will be at the back of the queue for pay rises until everyone else catches up (and that's if they make the grade). Also, that every corporate wants a pound of flesh and more besides.

I feel much more sorry for the good owner-manager, trying to build a team. The effort and energy are exhausting and it is crippling when the early departure happens.

When the aforementioned resignation comes in, I have a number of tasks:

  • To reassure the devastated owner (you see, owners don't change jobs every 5 minutes - they have their skin in the game and so have no choice but to get going and toughen up). To reassure them that it's not their fault (owners take the blame - "what did I do wrong?");

  • To reassure the team that this is a blip and that the business will prevail;

  • To encourage the owner to begin the recruitment process again - back to square one.

It's like your dog died - you may need to get a new puppy really quickly.

We are dealing with unprecedented levels of disruption, discontent and disloyalty in the workplace.

Here comes some tough love from my 1980's career as a recruiting sales manager in financial services (I still have the scars).

When it comes to recruitment and team building:

  • Kiss a lot of frogs;

  • Fail fast;

  • "Some do, some don't, so what - next."


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