Did a member or members of your team call it quits before Christmas?

Are you worried that you won’t have the resources to hit the ground running in the New Year?

Feeling stressed at the thought of carrying the load?


As a small business owner, now in my 9th year, I’m more accustomed to staff ebbs and flows. However, for any manager departures bring distraction and disruption. When they take place at Year’s end it’s a thorn in your side, a monkey on your back that you really could’ve done without as you look to take your well-earned rest.


This year I’m exactly at this point. Some staff departures were well planned and known, such as my Finance Manager who was pregnant – you can’t help but see that coming! However, two newer staff members resigned and a starter who was at offer for a Jan start decided she no longer wanted a career in Recruitment. Three down from a team of seven!


As a Manager it’s easy to start to sweat and think of the downside. “How will we cope?” “I was overwhelmed last year and can’t fathom how I’ll do it again next year!” “What if we get hit with work, what are we going to do?” Alternatively, you may just want to curl up in a foetal position in a corner and hope your problem goes away.


Now.. these are all acceptable thoughts and feelings to have.


However, you have not achieved what you have to date by wallowing in despair!


There is always a plus, so let’s look at a couple.


Improved Profitability 

You don’t have to house payroll over the holiday period. With the exception of retail, hospitality and tourism many businesses stop at Christmas. Invariably the first quarter of the New Year is quiet and costs can exceed revenue particularly with staff wages. You will actually report a good first quarter thanks to your departees.


Opportunity to Start with a Clean Slate

So many managers have to tolerate, motivate or, worse, performance manage those staff that aren’t engaged in the business.


Your resignations show that your staff, for one reason or another, were not for you. Their decision may have saved you hard work down the track.


Instead of wondering what to do with those team members be thankful that they have opted out. You can focus on those individuals that will truly add value, fit with the culture and who are keen to work in the employment scenario you offer.


Yes it’s Christmas and that adds a slight obstacle but you can get your team back on track. Here’s how!


  1. Remember it’s Christmas. 

Take that break. Enjoy your holiday. Soak up family and festivities. Don’t beat yourself up and work through as you will be the one returning the most disenchanted.

Rarely are jobseekers looking or available for interview between Christmas and New Year so stop, breathe out and relax.


  1. Schedule Advertisements for the Holidays

While it’s a time to relax, individuals who haven’t been job hunting during the year often have a scan of the job market during their break.


All job boards allow you to write and schedule advertisements before you go away. Schedule the advertisement after Boxing Day and you may be surprised to see a group of keen parties for your role on your return.


  1. Have a Contingency Plan.

You’ve already played the worst-case scenario in your head. What if it eventuates?


If you haven’t got a group of candidates that match your needs, how else can you fill the gap?


Most common strategies savvy Managers use include:

Outsourcing – when a role can be done by a service provider, have them fill the hole which will give you time to effectively go through the process. Most common disciplines will include Accounting and Bookkeeping, IT, Graphic Design, Marketing, Legal, even HR and Engineering can be outsourced to professional providers.

Subcontract – many a time this year my company has been asked to place individual contractors with employers to give them the time to recruit their full-time employee. Our contractors have spanned administration, accounts, Engineers, Safety and Governance roles as our clients have looked to make permanent hires. The contractor is the stop gap and in some cases, can become the permanent staff member.

Try Freelancers– Websites such as O-desk and Airtasker have a range of people qualified and available to do your work. List the task and review profiles. Many freelancers come with portfolios or examples of work done. They may also have reviews from those they have worked for in the past.


With this in hand, take a break, enjoy your holidays and be confident that your team, division or company, through engaging the strategies above will come back stronger than ever next year.


Written by Maree Herath, Director 

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