I’m a little light on my blogging these days. My company recently launched their latest flagship product, so I’m working overtime setting research projects in place for the next generation product line. Innovation takes work, remember? Don’t expect too many posts over the next few weeks.
So, I’ll provide some off-the-cuff comments on an interesting post by Pamela Slim courtesy of Guy Kowasaki. It’s sort of a wake-up call to large companies on responsible behavior. I agree with many aspects of the post—please read the whole thing.
One item that I’ll comment on is when Pamela criticizes companies because
many of your managers act betrayed when their employees tell them they want to leave the company.
I’ve managed some 40+ people and had about half a dozen quite over the past ten years. Some to pursue PhDs, some to start their own companies, some to join a startup. I’ve never been upset about their leaving because I’ve believed that they’re moving on to improve their lives or jobs or interests. Nothing wrong with that. If their current job was a great fit, they would have no reason to leave; if it wasn’t a great fit, good luck with other opportunities and make room for someone who is a better fit.
I’ve heard managers say that they are reluctant to let their employees attend conferences because they are worried that their employees will find other job opportunities there. That’s like a husband never taking their wife out in public because the wife might find someone better. If that’s what you have to do to keep your wife/employee, I feel sorry for the wife/employee because they’ve obviously been treated so poorly that they’ll bolt at the first opportunity. If I were trite, I’d cite Sting right now…
A friend who worked at a competitor once called me to ask if he could try to recruit away an employee of mine. I said go ahead, if you can make their life better than we can, good for you. It didn’t happen.
Pamela makes the point in her post that everyone is replaceable and that no job is secure. Sure, but just because someone is replaceable doesn’t mean that they aren’t valuable. This is a mistake that some companies make, devaluing employees because of replacability. Turnover is costly for companies, and some employees are very difficult to replace—particularly ones with expertise intrinsic to their job or industry. Much has been written about how to retain employees, and those theories go hand-in-hand with employee satisfaction and employee productivity. A happy employee is a productive employee is an employee not going anywhere. I’m tempted to make a crap circle demonstrating this concept, but I’m too tired.