Conventional wisdom: Hire people for specific positions. If they don't work out, fire them.
On the contrary: Don't be afraid to shake things up--if your employees want to move around, let them.
It's the new year, and that means unhappy employees across the country are resolving to finally leave their crappy jobs.
Nobody wants unhappy employees, and nobody wants to go through the time and expense of hiring and training replacements. News flash: It's not an either/or situation. So go ahead and help your employees find new jobs...in your company. You'll keep your team together and avoid having to take a gamble on untested new hires.
At Big Ass Fans, we hire for personality, not position. Obviously certain jobs require certain skills, but even the most qualified hire doesn't always work out. Personality is just as much a key to success as job-specific knowledge. That's why it's important to find people who get along with others and have the drive and the enthusiasm to work well anywhere. If they're not a perfect fit for their original jobs or if they just don't like their roles, don't lose them--move them.
One day several years ago, one of our longest-tenured and best salespeople came to me with a resignation letter in hand and said, "You know, Carey, I really hate this job." According to him, sales was a struggle, not a challenge. Though he loved the company and the culture, he came to work each day uninspired and felt like he was letting us down. By the time he came to see me, he didn't know what to do about it except quit.
He was a brilliant guy and obviously I didn't want to lose him, but I knew that this was a situation where giving him a raise to stay put wasn't going to change anything. More money wasn't going to make him happier at his job, and if he stayed in sales, he'd be filling a position better suited for someone else.
But we knew he was a good fit for the company when we hired him, so firing him made no sense, either. Our solution? We moved him to a different department, into a job that allowed him to parlay his strengths into success. He's done amazing work there, too--and, more importantly, he's happier, even though his job is extremely demanding. Not only has he stayed with us, he even married another member of the Big Ass Fans team.
Moves don't always have to be employee-driven, though. If you have employees who aren't doing well in their original positions, don't be afraid to look at their strengths and move them to a position that's a better fit.
Peace out, burnout
If you're open to job rotation and your employees know it, they'll be less likely to bolt on you. Employees who know they can try out new positions without repercussions won't be afraid to ask for that if they're getting burnt out in their current role.
Honestly, you should be more than happy to let employees move around. Rotating between different departments will teach them about the company and help everyone work better together, and that's good for the business as a whole. So don't be afraid to let your salespeople try out customer service for six months--you and they might be pleasantly surprised at the results.
Hit shuffle, not repeat
Don't just let unhappy employees sit around--it's not good for them, their co-workers or the company. Give people options and some room to grow, and you might be surprised how well they handle the new responsibility.
Is it a gamble? Of course it is. But I'd much rather take a chance by moving an employee to a different department than risk losing someone for good without even trying something new. You've put a lot of effort and expense into finding, hiring, training and employing the best people you can. Give them every opportunity to find their perfect place in your company.