How aware are you about what’s going on in your organization? You need to be aware, which, in today’s world, means you need to be a social media consumer.
- Confront the employee: This is the obvious instinct whenever you see a current employee with a résumé on a job board. This approach works best with the employee who’s reacting about a single issue. The “Reactionary” can be approached directly, but then you’ll need to follow up to resolve the issue in question. Forget confronting the Free Agent (one who’s always looking, it’s just in their DNA) or the Chronically Disgruntled (never happy), because directness won’t change the approach of either.
- Tell the manager: If you confront an employee, you have to get their manager in the loop. That’s the right thing to do, and it’s a follow-up to confronting the employee. Letting the manager know that the Free Agent is updating his profile every week is not recommended. It’s not personal for the Free Agent, but it will cause trust issues with the manager when none may be warranted. You can also let the manager know that the disgruntled employee is floating his résumé, but there likely won’t be any viable action as a result—unless you can correct the core satisfaction issue.
- Attempt to engage on your own, undercover: Only an option for true HR pros. Rather than talking to either the employee or manager, you find a way to dig into what’s going on in the environment and attempt to engage or fix it. This is a viable option for the Reactionary or Disgruntled employee, although the approach doesn’t work as well for chronic situations as it does for those acute ones. Additionally, this approach doesn’t make sense for the Free Agent, since there’s no identifiable workplace issue to focus on.
- Do nothing and watch the show: Don’t use this approach with the Reactionary. You’ve got to do something to try and fix that one. This approach is best for the Free Agent or the Disgruntled. You can’t stop the Free Agent from being market-oriented, and the Disgruntled may have more issues than you can solve.
Before you act, know the profile and the motivation of the employee in question. At the end of the day, your organization expects you to own the situation. All parties involved are best served by the HR pro examining the situation and making the best call regarding the appropriate response. Or you could simply post your résumé in response. Does that make you a Free Agent—or a Reactionary?