My company doesn't have an issue with attrition or turnover but now and then we loose a senior technical staff member and I'm almost ready to celebrate their success because it is a positive reflection on us. Does this sound like an unusual statement? Yes, it does. Over the past several years we've had some wonderful employees leave for Google, Amazon, Yahoo and Square. One is a CTO and the others are amazing application architects who are senior, mentor level software engineers in web and mobile applications development.  So, why is their leaving a positive reflection of us? ...because we are a technical nutrient rich environment that enables those with aptitude and motivation to blossom into their full potential. I'm proud of them and of our ability to cultivate talent. This should be our next web page - celebrating our alumni.  It is certainly a strong value point as to why people want to work here.

Views: 312

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

So Ken, you're proud of being a "pass-through" company?  A company who takes pride in seeing its employees leave for better career opportunities elsewhere?  There is something puzzling about that concept unless you're a school or a training entity that, by design, launches students into a real job, a better job.  Your selling point for newbie’s who want to join you is also your Achilles’ heel.  Using the term “Alumni” suggests you’re a school, otherwise the more realistic term would be “former employees”.

Doesn’t it occur to you that you’re also experiencing a brain drain when employees leave, particularly key employees?  I can understand losing employees to sister divisions, but to lose them to competitors happens—but to crow about it is illogical and would make you a prime target for headhunters who live to find sources of good/great talent.

There's no con Valentino. It's unrealistic to think that all of your employees will stay with one company for 15-20 years any more. Some will be presented with truly exceptional opportunities. I don't pretend to think that we are "the best" and no one should. Eventually, even people at Google move on to "better things" i.e. from Google to an innovative startup like Square. Some attrition by the brightest can be a function of youth, maturity, ego, and legitimate pursuit of wanting to fully experience all they can. It's a different mindset with software engineering professionals.

I have re-read your reply three times to understand what you are saying and first I want to say thank you for expressing your view.

 

I've been with my company 14 years now and in my role as GM I have a relationship with each employee. I care about them and they know it. We invest in their professional development, help them when they have personal concerns going on and need help, and we have created an environment and culture that people want to work in.

 

We know our value proposition and more importantly they know it. People come to work here because of our reputation for excellence, for the diversity of industry and problem domains they get to work on, the caliber of resources they get to work with and learn from, for our free on-going training opportunities (as we teach at Washington University and offer various Certification programs tailored for software engineers), they enjoy frequent technical lunch and learns, write technical articles, and feel a part of our community of talent - besides receiving excellent pay and benefits. We invite people into a career relationship and operate from a position of sincerity and being real - communicating frequently and honestly. That's about all an employer can do to engender loyalty and encourage strong retention.

 

Life is short and people have their individual choices and journey. We appreciate and try and make the most of the time we get to walk down the path together. We operate from a place of security and realism. My linkedin and G+ network is visible to all my connections - I don't hide it (them) and there are a number of recruiters from various firms in my network. People stay with a company for a number of reasons. Some people leave, even in places like Google and Apple (premier companies), they leave for an innovative startup where they feel they can grow and prosper. 

 

You may be right about not promoting the success of alumni as it could make us a target. Our view is that some employees are going to leave sooner or later due to a combination of factors such as: for a better opportunity (crazy to chant "we are the best"), they leave perhaps due to money, maturity, ego, etc. but it's their life and journey. We can only do our best today and try and do the right things by people. We have a strong core of loyal and mature staff who truly value their experience here and that we can count on. Every company has alumni and we feel it's important to cheer them on and respect them, also, the door is always open for their return. 

 

This world view has worked for us and our company value proposition is a strong one.  

Ken, I think you are spot on with your comments. To have people leave for such well known and sought after companies surely reflects well on you and your organisation. 

 

You don't have a major attrition problem as you say, and some attrition is needed to allow newer employees room to grow into the vacated roles, otherwise you have the same people doing the same job for years, losing motivation as they can't progress and then leaving anyway. 

 

Good idea with the alumni thing too. Best of luck! 

@Ken - it's an interesting perspective and surprisingly I kinda like it!  :) My gut reaction would have been more in line with Valentino's remarks, but on the other hand that willingness to celebrate your employees' career growth (assuming they're taking a step up to Amazon or wherever) leaves the door open for them to refer others to their newly vacated position or to even come back some day.  You know, after they go learn a whole lot at Google.  A positive "send off" to the next big thing keeps a potentially valuable relationship strong.

Thank you Samantha!  I appreciate your reply.

Samantha Lacey said:

Ken, I think you are spot on with your comments. To have people leave for such well known and sought after companies surely reflects well on you and your organisation. 

 

You don't have a major attrition problem as you say, and some attrition is needed to allow newer employees room to grow into the vacated roles, otherwise you have the same people doing the same job for years, losing motivation as they can't progress and then leaving anyway. 

 

Good idea with the alumni thing too. Best of luck! 

I appreciate your reply too - thanks Amy. 

Amy Ala said:

@Ken - it's an interesting perspective and surprisingly I kinda like it!  :) My gut reaction would have been more in line with Valentino's remarks, but on the other hand that willingness to celebrate your employees' career growth (assuming they're taking a step up to Amazon or wherever) leaves the door open for them to refer others to their newly vacated position or to even come back some day.  You know, after they go learn a whole lot at Google.  A positive "send off" to the next big thing keeps a potentially valuable relationship strong.

Hi Ken,

I really appreciate your follow-up response to my response--which now that I re-read it, it does sound like a knock, but only in the sense that it was meant more as sharing a cautionary concern--not a concern of a "con".  You even admitted to making “an unusual statement” in this regard. 

It is an unusual stance to take publicly.  You zigged where most others would have zagged.  Raving, or celebrating, about where former employees go is congratulatory of them but it also magnifies your competitors as the employers of choice at at your expense somewhat relative to training/grooming for next-up internal opportunities).  To hear you say it, it sounds like a WIN (employee)-WIN (new employer)-WIN (you), when in fact it is a WIN-WIN – LOSE/LOSS.  They (Former Employee, Google, Yahoo, etc.) gained something, you lost something.  Isn’t there a silent alarm that goes off with employers when someone slips on a banana peel in their company lobby, or when someone leaves?  Shouldn’t your alarm be repaired, along with your smoke detectors, to alert you to a possible problem? 

Rather than celebrating publicly, I thought, you probably should be quietly conducting more intensive exit interviews to see if there is a need for a “fix-it” that may stem future out-flow of talent to competitors.  Attrition defined is about loss.  And the nature of the staffing cycle should also alarm you that if I was Google and I discover some of my best new hires happen to come from a few select sources (like yours)—the recruiter in me says let’s gas-up the pickup truck and go get some more of that talent. 

It’s truly decent of you to be proud of such positive outcomes for former employees.  You know them professionally and personally so they matter.  However, most employers take the paranoia route of getting “non-compete” clauses signed and still have concerns for potential compromised proprietary knowledge—but you’re celebrating.  You’re a rare, bird Ken Totten.  Good for you and good for them—unless of course you notice a spike in attrition. 

Valentino - we do exit interviews and always try to understand if there is anything we can learn from so we can improve. The fact is that everything changes over time and so much in life is "context driven". Employees usually do not stay in one place forever and that's okay. As an employer you just have to keep growing your base of employees and book of business so that occasional loses have less impact. We believe in the win-win for the long term. Client and Employee Retention maintained in the 90 and above percentile is an acceptable statistic to us.  In my career I've worked at MCI Telecom, NASDAQ, and at two consulting companies before ending up where I am now. It was that evolution that shaped my professional experience - it was also all a part of growing up. I might not have hired me back then! Age, Maturity, Experience and our Mental Models affect our performance and most people go through multiple jobs before becoming their personal best and are able to finish out a career somewhere.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Subscribe

All the recruiting news you see here, delivered straight to your inbox.

Just enter your e-mail address below

Webinar

RecruitingBlogs on Twitter

© 2022   All Rights Reserved   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Service