Why Do I Keep Losing Employees?

This week's question from my portal “The Neagle Code: Directions for Life” comes from someone who wishes to remain anonymous.

Neagle Code Question

Hi David,

I feel like I’m having abandonment issues with my employees. We’ve lost three or four in the last few years, and now we’re losing another one. I don’t think it’s related to me as a boss.

I’m taking on some of the tough work myself, like taking out the garbage, because it has to be done. I feel like I’m trying to buffer my employees from some of the real work, and it’s making me exhausted. Is this is an issue of abandonment?—or of not hiring the right person?

Neagle Code Answer

Here’s the thing: you’re not “losing” another employee. You’re transitioning a person through your company.

Let’s not look at it as a loss. It’s not a loss. It’s an opportunity for you, and it’s an opportunity for them.

You can look at everything you did right with this person and everything you did wrong, and you can become a better person with the next one you hire.

It’s always easier to do that than to try to change behaviors that have been going on too long with a current employee.

If you feel bad about what’s happening, you’re going to treat yourself badly. You’ll immediately go into a story of, “This is a loss. We’ve lost something.” What happens when you lose something? You grieve. You feel bad. You’re not celebratory about it.

You’re letting the wrong thinking get into your head. You guys should be like, “Woohoo! This is fantastic. It’s an opportunity for us to find the next rockstar for our business.”

It’s also about acceptance. People come and go in businesses. Most people in your business aren’t there for a lifetime. This isn’t a family. It’s more like a sports team.

If you start looking at it as a family, you’ll get attached. When you get attached, it doesn’t matter what the reason is—you’re going to be hurt when it’s time for that person to go, because it’s an unnatural attachment.

The problem is being caused by the fact that you don’t want to look at the reality of “people coming and going in a business,” because it makes you constantly have to do something you don’t like to do, but you have to do.

It’s easier to wish they wouldn’t leave than to become so damn good at hiring that it never disturbs you.

If you have to add another person to create a backup in case someone leaves, then absolutely do that—if you have a real need for that. But make sure you’re not making an emotional decision. Make the decision that’s best for the business.

What’s best for the business?

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