I work at a small business (about 30 full timers), and my department is currently running on a skeleton crew of just 7 bodies. We honestly can not manage with fewer than these numbers.

There are a few of my coworkers who are currently in talks with other companies and I fear that if they both put in their 2 week notice at once management will be scrambling to replace them and the training won't be done anywhere near where we needs it to be.

Should I let management know that a few people might be on their way to other ventures and to start looking through the resumes now for potential new hires?

I don't say this out of company loyalty, but rather self preservation. The last time our department got super understaffed like this and our output dropped the higher ups thought it was a problem with the current personnel and let most of the workers go and brought in a whole new crew (myself included).

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    If that's the kind of smarts the higher ups normally display, you may want to start looking elsewhere yourself, before you are "let go" on a whim. – deg Sep 17 '17 at 2:25
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    Your mangers mistaken understaffing problems as incompetence? And then fired them? These are really special mangers. – Nelson Sep 17 '17 at 3:32
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    Self-preservation dictates that you should look for another job too. – Stephan Branczyk Sep 17 '17 at 10:28
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    Your coworkers may get fired if you tell management, and they're smart to be looking if that's how your management dealt with understaffing in the past. Don't threaten other people's livelihoods for doing what is necessary to look after themselves. I can't imagine what other management problems you guys have. Get a new job. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Run. – Student Sep 17 '17 at 14:55
  • Loyalty is a two-way street. Why would you feel you need to look out for your employer's interest over those of your co-workers and yourself? You've said in your question that your employer has no loyalty towards you ("the higher ups thought it was a problem with the current personnel and let most of the workers go"). – Mike Harris Sep 18 '17 at 17:39

Best not to get involved in telling tales on coworkers.

Firstly you don't even know and it may not happen, secondly it is only your concern in terms of your own job security. In which case if you think it's that bad you should be job hunting already.

I don't see anything positive in getting involved. If management doesn't already see the signs, then they most likely won't do anything in time, and realistically there is very little they can do anyway. So you potentially alienate your colleagues for no personal gain.

Eg,. if I was your coworker and I confided in you that I wanted to leave, I may just be ranting, or I might be serious. If however you then took that information to management then either way it could create issues for me, and I would never forget you for it.

It's NOT your company, look after yourself first.


If management is that stupid, you can't afford to tell them anything at all.

A management that would mistake understaffing problems for productivity problems is certainly incapable of distinguishing between bad news and the bearer of bad news.

If you go to management and report that several of your co-workers are unhappy and are preparing to leave, management will probably manage to conclude that you are the cause of all this trouble, and fire you on the spot. After all, as far as management is concerned, there was no problem until you brought it up. Therefore you must be either the elected spokesman for the mutineers, or some kind of pinko agitator.

These people are not prepared to believe that you would want to do anything to help them or help the company. They will filter your words through their own perception, which is that when bad things happen it must be some employees' fault. Evidently they have only one response to that.

If you try to alert management to the impending departures, you will be fired as a troublemaker. If you say nothing, your department will become understaffed and you will be fired for non-productivity. The decision you are facing is not whether to find a new job, but when.

Your co-workers are right. Get out now.


Mind your business!

The last thing that the management needs is for you to go running in their direction being a tattle-tale. Think this through. If you point fingers at your co-workers, (a) they will be alienated, (b) they are likely to deny looking elsewhere, which will make you look like a real ass, and (c) if the word gets out that you're the office snitch, neither your peers OR the managers will trust you.

Your co-workers have the right to leave. If someone was doing something illegal in the workplace, then YES, go run and tell that. But otherwise, companies lose people every day. If someone in the organization believed that you were responsible for dealing with attrition, then you'd either be a manager or work in HR. Since you haven't indicated as such, leave things alone. You are running completely on fear, and at the end of the day, the company's leadership is going to do as they like.

Let. Go. Focus on what you can actually control -- which means to stop worrying about what leadership MIGHT do. For your own sake, work on a Plan B that you CAN control. Maybe you'll need it, and maybe you won't.


While the other upvoted answers are spot on IMO in terms of your management being idiots and you having to start looking for alternatives yourself, I do want to address another angle on top of that.

While telling management that essential workers might be looking to leave probably isn't going to end well, you could address the issue that you are running on a skeleton crew and that if anyone would fall away due to any reason you'd all be in dire trouble.


It will depend on whose information you're giving away. If your professional network in your field of work is small and there's a high chance of seeing these people at another job, if you make a switch, you shouldn't be doing this. Because soon enough you'll find yourself in a situation where you're looking for another job elsewhere and you don't want to see these people whose plans, you gave away ahead of time, in an interview. If not, its fine to let management know ahead of time.

On the other hand, if you can't let management know because your network is small in your field of work, you could also start searching for new jobs, if you're afraid of a situation where you lose your job because the other people left.

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