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<i>Dear Workforce</i> How Do We Blend Senior Employees With Employees Absorbed From a Merger

August 17, 2005
Dear Fearful:

Having employees who either do not want to be around or who feel they are being forced to stay could develop into a dispiriting situation. It lowers the morale both of employees who want to leave and newer employees who hear them repeatedly pining for retirement.
Yours is a singular situation inasmuch as the company clearly is carrying more employees and a higher payroll than it probably needs. So it would be in your company's best interests to perform a cost analysis to figure out the most fiscally responsible actions to take next.
You also would help your workforce greatly by developing an exit strategy for senior employees who are eager to retire. However, this doesn't mean shoving them out the door. Instead, you should direct their remaining energies to easing the inevitable transition within your company. For instance:
  • Examine core competencies required for each position that will become vacant. Compare these to the talent already on hand, particularly your newer employees.
  • Next, determine how much time is needed to get these folks functioning at full speed.
  • Develop a process to realistically assess their performance. Include ways to improve productivity, effectiveness, etc.
  • Use your senior employees as mentors. Provide them with training to equip their successors to capably do the jobs. Involve them in evaluations to mark the progress of their "pupils." (Of course, you will need to get the buy-in of your more experienced workers for this to work.)
  • Develop a plan for newcomers to assume their jobs within a designated time. Advise them how they will be trained and by whom. Namely, how the senior employees will serve as mentors. Evaluate their performance every 30 days to determine progress.
  • Make sure performance appraisals are conducted thoroughly and on time. Again, make sure they include recommended strategies for boosting employees' performance.
Once employees start rumbling about retirement, experience tells us that they have, in effect, already retired--especially when they start counting weeks and days. Letting them leave is best for all concerned, including those employees who remain behind.
SOURCE: Lonnie Harvey, Jr., SPHR, president,The JESCLON Group, Inc. Rock Hill, South Carolina, Oct. 28, 2004.
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The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.
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