So you’ve got the feeling one of your best blokes is thinking about leaving to start his own contracting business. Lately he’s been more interested in the business side of things, he has aspirations for things (houses, cars, boats) clearly out of his price range with what you currently pay him, he’s good at what he does, he’s been building relationships with customers and so on.
So what are you to do?
Well, if you’re pretty confident he is really thinking about moving on – why not talk to him about it? Better than being caught by surprise when the resignation letter hits your desk.
This way you can plan for the impending departure, or help avoid it.
To keep him, you might like to tap into his interests. Maybe an extra week of holidays each year so that he can go to Bathurst, or fishing, or skiing, will do the trick. Or maybe he wants to grow into a management role and get off the tools. This won’t be possible in all contracting businesses, but if you are a size where this is viable – why not help him move towards this? Recruiting from within is always the best option.
If he is definitely on the way out, offer to help him by teaching some business skills and helping him get his contractors license. In return, you get another solid 12 months of work out of him, and ideally get him to sign a non-compete and therefore he doesn’t end up taking any existing customers with him.
Rather than seeing it as an unavoidable part of business, put your thinking cap on and do what you can to keep the best players on your team, or lessen their impact when they do leave.