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It is that time of year, you start to look around and through effective ranking by your Crew Leaders/Foremen you have begun to make the decisions; who will need to leave and who will stay. Forced ranking, a topic by itself, helps you to decide. This is to help you implement it.

As we have often advised, your team is made up of people with good attitudes. This conversation could leave people with the right perspective to return when business picks up or leave them with a bad feeling about how you run your business and the management experience. When having the conversation around parting ways for the season, a few things should go into your preparation:

  • Where will you be having these conversations? (Jobsite, office, etc.)
  • Do you want them to return? Or not?
  • What have they done well?
  • What might they work on if they wanted to improve?
  • What opportunity is there for advancement next season?

Because you have spent time ensuring your leaders are having the right conversations at the moment (they are giving feedback regularly whether good or bad), this conversation should not be a surprise to anyone. It is good to have the information about seasonal performance fresh in your mind; schedule a quick huddle with your leadership team before having these conversations so you are informed.

Our schedules at this time of year are stretched to the limit. You need to rush to finish large jobs before the season turns, you have your 90-day plans on your office wall (or the dashboard of your truck!), and you are finalizing your winter marketing plans. But this is just as important. You can save yourself the heartache of asking someone to leave the wrong way. Instead, set your next busy season up for success by having a well-trained staff return.

When speaking to the people you want to return, be sure to do this in person. Be sure to highlight the contributions to the team. Do not forget to outline potential areas of improvement. Remember, these are people you WANT to return. Document your conversation, it is a long time between now and Spring and the time you invest now prevents you from wondering, as you are looking at applications, was that the Ken we liked, or the one we didn’t?

And, if you don’t want somebody to return, again, have your conversation in specifics. If you’ve been having the right conversations along the way, nothing will come as a surprise. All you’ll need to say is, “Thanks for your help this summer. Today will be your last day.” Then, take the time to document the conversation. When an unemployment claim comes through, or they reapply, the effort you put in now will pay off by having the right information collected in the right place.

This may be uncomfortable at times but remember the big picture. Remind yourself that the reason you are doing this is that you want next year to be better than this year. Let your thoughts be dominated by the employees you want and the goals you want to achieve. Remember your vision. It’s yours for the taking. Now, go out there and get it!

All the best, Kathryn

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