A Leading Perspective

Pragmatic insights for the leader in you

Out With The Old

I had a garage sale today.  I try to have one every year as I accumulate a lot of crap. Anyway, I heard the saying “out with the old, in with the new” multiple times today.  I’ve heard that saying before during previous garage sales…and I’ve always joked and/or thought to myself, “that’s right…I’ll buy a new {insert worthless noun} with the money I make.”


This year was different.  I had this sale in an attempt to simplify my life; I needed to get out from under the tons of stuff that overwhelm me now that I’m on my own.  So when I heard the saying, “out with the old, in with the new,” I disagreed and thought it was best to simply be, “out with the old.”


It was then that I was inspired to write this post.


This philosophy doesn’t have to apply only to extra sleeping bags, too many pie plates, extra gas cans, multiple carboys, shelves of Disney movies, etc.  It can and should apply to workforce replacement.


Yep, I said workforce replacement.
It’s a new term…I just made it up. 🙂


I’ve been in Human Resources for many years and I’ve seen many supervisors immediately react and try to “replace” an exiting employee. Many nearly panic in their rush to do so!


I don’t think this is always necessary.


Sometimes, it’s ok to simply be “out with the old.” 


  • Perhaps technology can be utilized for some of the transactional work; this may result in decreased “human” activities.


  • Perhaps processes can be improved upon to gain efficiencies and reduce waste/redundancies without sacrificing quality or quantity; again, this could mean you don’t need a full time employee anymore!


  • Perhaps other staff are willing and able to grow and develop or to otherwise “enrich” or “enlarge” their jobs.


  • Perhaps the exiting employee’s hours were filled with sacred cow work that, when you’re honest with yourself, has very little value in your current state and can be eliminated.


  • Perhaps there is a need for additional and/or changed work; this could result in needing different skills/competencies than that of the exiting employee.


  • Perhaps the exiting employee had actually exited the workforce years ago and was just physically occupying a seat.  (Don’t roll your eyes and claim this only happens with bad supervisors because I’m willing to bet you have a few retired on duty employees right now!)


  • Perhaps the organization and its customers would be better served if that work were changed or…don’t shoot me…outsourced.


Perhaps perhaps perhaps.


Perhaps you’re tired of me suggesting the above things are possible but trust me, you will be a better supervisor and a better manager of your resources if you take the time to analyze the work, think about who is best to perform it, discuss how best to get it done, etc. 

(And, if you’re a good HR Professional, you will prove your worth and assist/counsel your supervisor/manager immediately!)


Once you have done a thorough “workplace replacement” analysis, you’ll know if you need to delegate and develop, re-organize a few things, or hire a new employee.


If indeed you need “in with the new,” feel free to recruit, screen and select like nobody’s business!  Fill the seat with someone qualified to do the work, aligned with your vision and mission, able to fit into the organization’s culture and motivated to be a part of something great!


I’m just asking that you think about it first!


Workforce replacement…it’s about analyzing the work that needs to be done and doing what is necessary to ensure it gets done well.


That’s my perspective!  BTW, that and a quarter would have bought you a cup of lemonade today at my garage sale!



Bottom LineHuman ResourcesJob AnalysisLeadershipRecruitmentRole of HRSelectionSkill DevelopmentTeamworkValueWorkforce

Heather Kinzie • August 18, 2012

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