When we are building our team to serve customers, I think it is constructive to think in terms of our organization’s front door and back door. It is all about how we treat our employees.

The front door is the place where we welcome people who come to buy something, to have dinner or enjoy drinks and conversation with friends.  On the other side of the house is the backdoor, where we keep the garbage cans, empty shipping boxes, and supplies, those things we use to conduct business but we do not want people to see.

Companies treat new employees with respect

For businesses in a competitive environment, the front door takes on additional importance.  That is where we welcome our new employees that we want to impress. The front door is all about putting our best foot forward with messages about how important our employees are for our success, how we will invest to ensure they do well and with reassurances about our values: respect, honor and integrity.

We Do Not Always Treat Unsuccessful Employees With Respect

When things do not work out, we show those unsuccessful employees the back door.  Their departure is certainly not as ceremonious as their arrival and that is what separates the good companies from those that just get by.  The irony is that in both cases, it is all about how we treat people.

When an employee does not work out — we show them the back door

Here is the important part:  the really good companies, the one’s with a great reputation that everyone would like to work for, treat their people the same way at the back door as they do at the front door. For those good companies the one common denominator is respect.  Even when a colleague fails to succeed, they help them leave with respect and support. You see the really good companies know that the promising person that did not work out will probably go to be successful in another venue.  There is no anger or resentment.  No, if anything, the good companies challenge themselves:  what could we have done differently to help this person succeed?

How Your Terminate An Employee Is The True Test for a Company

A now retired Chief Human Resource Officer once told me that he never worked for a company that did not show respect and support at the front door, and, if the employee was not successful, at the backdoor as well.  “It is how your treat people when you have to make a change that really defines the recruiting brand of a company,” he explained.  “Almost every employer can behave admirably when they are employing someone.  The true test of a company’s culture, their real commitment to human capital, is how they treat people at the back door. “ 

The best companies to work for treat their departing employees, even those they had to terminate, with real respect — a robust severance package for executives that includes a sincere interest to make available resources to help them navigate the transition.  This could include severance payments and paid benefits for a defined period and quality career transition coaching.  The operative words in this construct are sincere interest and quality. 

Good Companies Do Not Shoot Their Wounded

Quality employers  do not shoot the wounded. They know that the money they invest in candidates who are asked to leave is all about attracting better candidates in the future.  This kind of news — how you treat departing employees — travels fast.

In your next job search, here is an important question to ask yourself:  If you are a champion, a stellar leader, why would you take a chance with a company that doesn’t know how to treat people at the back door?

John G. Self

John’s Next Video Blog: Tomorrow John will share some ideas on managing your job search – Don ’t Put Off Tomorrow That Which You Can Do Today.  

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