When a key employee decides it’s time to pursue different interests and ambitions, it generates ripples in an organization. If that person takes a lot of organizational knowledge out the door, those ripples can morph into a tsunami.
Authors Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha and Chris Yeh outline one possible model for this new kind of relationship in their book, The Alliance: Managing talent in the networked age. They propose an alliance between employer and employee, whereby the employee provides value to the organization for period of time in return for compensation and opportunities for growth and development. Much like a marriage where both parties stay as long as the relationship is mutually beneficial, such an alliance acknowledges the fact that:
“Permission [to leave] is not yours to give or to withhold, and believing you have that power is simply a self-deception that leads to a dishonest relationship with your employees. Employees don’t need your permission to switch companies, and if you try to assert that right, they’ll simply make their move behind your back.”
When this kind of relationship exists, key employees don’t sneak out the back door. Instead, they let you know about their plans well in advance, giving you the opportunity to document organizational knowledge, train their replacements and wrap up critical tasks. These employees are also a lot more likely to remain accessible in future when unexpected issues crop up and their insight would be helpful.
Boomerangs by Canned Muffins, Flickr
The most important reason for cultivating a different kind of relationship with valued employees is to keep the conversation going and the door open. Boomerang hires are a growing phenomenon and, in tight talent markets, often prove to be faster, more productive hires. According to Dr John Sullivan, HR thought-leader from the Silicon Valley, there are many reasons to hire corporate alumni, including the following:
Fast hire. Boomerangs offer an opportunity to acquire a top person quickly (the search and the assessment take little time).
Known skills. Because they are former employees with years of performance appraisals, you know in advance what skills and competencies you are obtaining.
Up to speed quickly. Because they know the organization and its culture, they are likely to get up to speed faster than traditional new hires who have to learn an entirely new set of politics, culture, and processes.
Low failure rate. They have a lower chance of failing because they have already adapted to the culture and you already know their performance capabilities and their ability to produce results (especially if they quit your firm recently).
Browngrassers. You might find that after seeing the “color of the grass” on the other side that they are desirable because they will not likely leave again. The added benefit alluded to earlier is that they can help in the retention effort because they can tell stories to others about life on the outside.
Competitive intelligence. They can provide competitive intelligence, new ideas, and a fresh perspective from their previous firms.
A chain reaction. They often bring back other alumni with them when they come, especially after the message spreads that you are welcoming back those who left.
Building community. Alumni programs help build a sense of a long-term community among employees because even when you leave, employees know they can maintain a relationship with the firm.
PR value. A high return rate might improve image and secure good PR in the industry and community.
No matter how disappointed you may be at the loss of a top performer, your best option for minimizing the ripples of change when a key employee leaves is to leave the door ajar, keep the lines of communication open, and never (ever) say never.
Last week we published Managing Employee Expectations - Part 1 from guest author, David Drennan. Today's post complete's the picture.
Managing Negative Expectations
No-one likes to communicate bad news, but sometimes it has to be done. Unlike managing expectations about positive news, it’s a situation that needs quite different treatment if you're going to manage expectations effectively.
Generally, when people have been expecting some negative event in their lives, anything better than what was expected will bring feelings of relief. I well remember in my early thirties having a consistent pain in my stomach that convinced
A few years ago on the ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ TV show, a somewhat frumpy lady marched on stage to conduct an audition in front of a large theatre audience and three sceptical judges. The judges rolled their eyes when, although already 47, she said she wanted to become a ‘professional singer’, but she had never had the right opportunity. She thought she could become like Elaine Paige, the well-known singing star. More painful looks and rolling of eyes from both the judges and the audience. But Susan Boyle went ahead, and started to sing &lsquo
You can’t fix a broken situation by hiring better talent. There, I said it—and it feels almost blasphemous. But we’ve all seen great hires step into a dysfunctional environment and gradually become part of the existing (dis)order. As much as we hope to change organizations by hiring great people, the fact remains that existing conditions just carry too much weight.
Photo credit: Bksimonb, Wikimedia Commons
This is not a new phenomenon. One of the greatest “strengths” of the Han Chinese of Medieval China was their ability to absorb and assimilate
Cooperation by Marina del Castell, Flickr
Onboarding is a critical component in the successful integration of new hires and can have a great impact on employee satisfaction and retention. For that reason, we prioritize it at TribeHR and have developed a continuous improvement approach to onboarding that is everyone’s responsibility. In a previous blog post I referenced this process as follows:
Since we also ask new hires to identify something they can improve in the on-boarding process within the first 30 days (and then improve it), everyone is collectively invested in enhancing the on-boarding experience for new hires. This
If you believe, as we do, that one-on-one meetings are still the best way to build strong working relationships with everyone on your team, you’ll want to make them a priority. Of course, when you’re distracted or struggling to shift focus from other responsibilities, it can be a challenge to get the conversation started.
Photo by Sonny Abesamis, Flickr
Socates said "“My way toward the truth is to ask the right questions.” Confuscious clearly believed in the power of good questions too, having written: “The man who asks a question is a fool
We’re a technology company. We create software. And the heart of our software is people: the people who develop it, sell it, support it and use it.
Our objective is not to replace people with technology or to build technology barriers between people—the opposite in fact. Our goal is to enhance workplace relationships by making work easier, more connected and more enjoyable for everyone. Developing and maintaining those workplace relationships is one of our top priorities.
Photo by ashraful kadir,
To make sure it happens, we’ve developed the following best practices for one-on-one meetings.
More than anything else, great customer service is about respect: respect for the customer as an individual, respect for the customer’s time and respect for the customer’s point of view—even when it seems off base.
It’s Not About You
Variations of the statement: “Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” have been attributed to Theodore Roosevelt and John C. Maxwell, among others. This phrase has been used time and again to illustrate a fundamental principle in leadership, sales, and customer service. The same
The fundamentals of the employee-employer relationship have changed over the past few decades. Employers no longer even pretend to offer job security and, in return, employee loyalty to a particular company is rare. Yet employees still want to know where they stand and what their long term prospects are within the organizations they work for. And employers still want to reduce employee churn and find ways to retain great employees as long as possible. The question is: How can we do that in today’s competitive, volatile, shifting world?
The Alliance: managing talent in the networked age
Mobile Worker by Michael Coghlan, Flickr
As technology has taken hold in our workplaces and more jobs consist of knowledge work that can be done anywhere with an internet connection, reducing the physical plant requirements of business has been a logical progression. If an employee can effectively and productively work from home, why add unnecessary real estate costs to the company’s overhead—especially since control and flexibility increase workers’ job satisfaction and eliminating the commute reduces their stress.
Not at Work: Not Absent
In spite of occasional setbacks (like Marissa Mayers’ infamous memo), the entrenchment