"Managing People with Morecrofts"

D’oh! The Simpsons loses a famous voice – How to keep your key talent

Thomas Sutherland

The internet is currently going wild with the story that Harry Shearer, the voice of Mr Burns, Ned Flanders, Principal Skinner and Waylon Smithers in The Simpsons, is set to leave the show following a contract dispute over pay.

This has been a crushing blow to fans of the show, which is set to enter its 27th season. Given the range of voices that he covers, Harry Shearer is a massive fan favourite and has been involved in The Simpsons since its very first episode over 25 years ago.

It has been reported that the show will continue and the characters voiced by Harry Shearer will be recast. Naturally, the question is whether it will be quite the same with someone else voicing the characters.

Employee departures due to dispute over the contents of new contracts, most particularly in relation to pay, are nothing new to employers. Where a business wants to keep key talent, it can find it difficult to maintain that delicate balance between distribution of business resources and finding a wage that will keep talent at the company.

In reality, both employee and employer will have an upper limit to the things they will accept to continue the employment relationship. Whilst some situations involve too large a gulf in expectations, others will simply require honest and open discussion as to the contractual terms required to stay in the job.

As always, the most important aspect of a contract discussion is effective communication between the parties. In terms of negotiating style, think less Mr Burns and more Ned Flanders…