Good employees won’t take a “lateral move” in lieu of more money offered by another firm. If your people are approached by recruiters bearing gifts, they’ll take them. The problem needs a better approach than changing a monthly report to a quarterly report. in my experience, many employees would perceive that as a diminishing of their job rather than as the time-saver you intended.

The approach of this article is backwards as it focuses on what I see as silly tactics to prevent corporate kidnapping. The article recommends changing a monthly report to a quarterly report to lighten the load of a key employee. Lateral moves instead of promotions are recommended. This is all wrong.

Start by evaluating employees who occupy key positions. There are some you are better off without in spite of replacement costs. A sour attitude costs your firm more money than training a solid replacement who will probably enter at a lower salary.

Make a plan to protect those you want to keep and those you’re willing let go. Protect the keepers with real money. Lease cars, give bonuses or extra vacation time. Do what it takes to keep the best.

Don’t be afraid let the duds fall out of the lifeboat. Too often I see companies show greater fear of the unknown than of the known non-productive or possibly destructive employee.

Here’s a tip on performing your evaluations. Look at each person you consider key to your operation. Ask yourself, “could I farm him out as a profit source?”

Let’s go through an example. Jill in accounting has been with you for five years and does a good job. Could you offer an accounting service, such as monthly invoicing, to outside companies and rely on Jill to get the job done?

I’m not saying you should do this though it may be worth considering. Many large companies are doing it so don’t dismiss the idea entirely. But do consider what would happen if you did. Would the customers be satisfied or does Jill have a “people problem” that you overlook? This forces you to take a realistic look at all your Jacks and Jills. Can they make it up the hill to fetch the water or are you covering for them?

If you have key people who a likely to depart regardless of reason, start covering your bases by spreading the knowledge. Do some cross-training. If your shipping manager might go, get someone in shipping ready to assume the position. You should have a plan for dealing with the loss of anyone in your firm.

Don’t be afraid to let some employees go and fight like heck to protect the best. And if someone wants to leave, show them to the door regardless of how good they are. If the discontent runs deeper than money, it’s too late to make that person happy and probably not worth the effort.

Chris Reich