Well, I have given myself a week to get over it. It is now time for the pity party to be over. Time for the big boy pants to go on and for me to move forward. Why was there even a pity party you ask? Well it is because someone on my team quit. They are moving on. As HR Pros, I think we are wired to be the ones advising others on how to prevent this stuff from happening and that turnover is something that operational managers experience and not HR Managers! I have been fortunate during my career to have experienced only a nominal amount of turnover within the groups I have managed. I have worked with some pretty great folks and it has been some time since I lost a member of my team. In fact, the last time that occurred was almost 7 years ago at another organization! At that time, over the course of about 18 months, I lost two great managers who moved on to bigger roles in broader HR capacities. As much as I hated to lose them, it was a good move for both of them. They both left on great terms and to this day I remain in contact with them and consider them to be among the best HR Professionals I know.
So, back to why I was throwing a pity party. Oh yeah, right..I was losing a valued member of my team. I had hired “Shane” right out of school. He came to me via an internship program whereby he spent 5 weeks with us as part of his criteria for graduating. The internship parlayed itself into a series of contracts with Shane eventually being hired by us on a permanent basis. This journey all started five years ago. During that time, Shane developed personally and professionally with us. He grew from an entry level HR Pro who was strong on knowledge but light on application, to one who had become involved with multiple HR and organizational projects. Shane was my go to guy in terms of our HRIS. He knew that thing inside and out like nobody’s business! Shane was also involved with spearheading many of our projects in other geographies, and over the past year, had been leading the HR function for one of our subsidiary companies.
I knew deep down that eventually I wouldn’t be able to offer Shane enough from a growth and development perspective to keep him. Barring a rapid, major expansion of our company, I knew eventually he would want to run his own show, gain greater organizational exposure to high level projects and operate at a more strategic level – all opportunities I simply couldn’t provide in the quality and quantity that Shane needed. It was simply one of those situations where you hire, develop and grow someone to the point in time where they need to move on to bigger and better things. In retrospect, if Shane stayed with us he probably would have stagnated and he would have been doing himself and us a disservice by staying. Reality is that I would have been disappointed in Shane if he chose the (comfortable) path of least resistance when it came to his career. Upon reflection, I guess this was an inevitability after all.
So, I will set aside the fact that I hate losing good people. I have accepted the fact that there was probably nothing more I could have done to prevent him from leaving, although there will always be that element of self-doubt. I will move on from the fact that good people are hard to find and Shane was a good, no great, HR Pro. I have stopped feeling sorry for myself and have (and will continue) to wish Shane all the best in new his role, knowing that his new employer is getting a great employee. Shane will be one of those HR Pros that I remain in touch with and will consider part of my go to group. I have thanked Shane for all that he has done for our organization and I am now beginning to wrap my head around setting my sights on finding my next Shane….wherever he or she may be.
What about you? Have you ever had a Shane before? Did you throw a pity party for yourself? How long did it last? When you have lost a great member of your team how did you handle it? As always, I welcome your comments and feedback.
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