To get the most from attrition, use carcass management

When people resign or are terminated for poor performance, there is a temptation to replace them immediately. Your managers often come to you saying that it is essential to hire a replacement if the department is to continue to run properly. This may indeed be the case, but there are a number of good reasons to wait before pushing the button to go out and hire somebody else.

First and foremost, it is a good opportunity to evaluate whether you can cut expenses through attrition. It may not be essential to go out and make another hire and in running your business without the person who has just left you may discover that you can reorganize in a way that allows you to do without them completely.

It is a good idea to put in place an automatic 30 day moratorium that says that nobody will be hired for at least 30 days to replace somebody that leaves. One of the more subtle things that can happen if you don’t automatically hire to replace the person who has just left is that those remaining may welcome the opportunity to feed on the carcass and benefit from the opportunities created by the person leaving.

What you can do is to take the salary that you have just saved and redistribute some of it in the form of a bonus to the workers who are prepared to take on more work to pick up the slack and enable you to operate without the person who has just left.  

I have done this a number of times, and if it is put to the employees in the right way, it is extraordinary how they react to the opportunity and work a little harder in order to capture some of the spoils that have been made available by the removal of one of their erstwhile colleagues.