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  • Writer's pictureKristen Herring-Asleson

Letting Loyal Employees Go is Apparently Easy!

There is so much that can be learned by watching youth sports nowadays.

My 12-year-old son may not be the best athlete, but he is the best teammate another child could want. In a split second, he can go from being so disappointed in his own performance to high-fiving, patting back and yelling at the top of his lungs in encouragement to his teammates.

When, as adults, do we outgrow that? And why? Why do we no longer behave as children do when working as a team? Are we not in it together when we know the objective? Yes, I understand the need to be recognized for one’s hard work, but still, working as team, cheering one another on, and patting backs is not the norm anymore.

Worse than team members not acting as a team are the managers who make being on a team difficult and toxic. Let me illustrate a bit better what I mean. What you are about to read happened this week.

This woman started with the company she just exited 13 years ago. When first hired, the job was at the bottom of the totem pole. She feels she gave her “heart and soul” to this company only to end up over-worked and under-appreciated. What she did not realize over the course of those 13 years is that she was simply a body that could be and would be replaced in an instant.

Yet, throughout her career there, she proved herself time and time again. In fact, she was the first female store manager since the time it was purchased in 1978. The first! While there were parts of the job she loved, such as helping people and seeing the gratitude on their faces when they left the premises, what she did behind the scenes was never recognized by way of a raise in pay.

Over and over, she had proven herself through her capabilities and meeting sales goals, when it came time for a pay increase, she was met excuses such as “COVID" or "inflation.”

After giving her two-week notice, she had every intention of fulfilling her required duties and responsibilities to the end. But, the management team did not even allow that to happen all the way down to handling the social media she had built up from scratch. Can you imagine her surprise when her job was posted at a higher wage than what she currently had been making after being told there was no room in the budget for a higher hourly pay rate?

Sadly, she also faced her bonus being cut in half from the previous year while knowing a male department manager received a larger bonus than hers as the store manager. The gap is real when it comes to wages between men and women.

When it came to her team, as she rose to store manager, she took the time and effort needed to develop them toward being better employees as well. She felt she trained, guided and molded all her staff to serve the public in the best manner possible no matter what position they held within the company.

The worst part of this experience for her? Although she absolutely loved her job, she is hurt that she put so much time and effort in, and for what? She feels she missed so many moments with her three babies and looks back with much regret at what was sacrificed while doing what she thought was making their lives better. Only to have that shattered after 13 years of loyal service.

The toxicity brought to the whole team from the top in just this one episode will not be forgotten, and with word-of-mouth so influential, it will be difficult to hire her replacement.

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