I had a doctor recently ask me about this concern as it relates to our encouragement of personal growth.  I couldn't agree with this article more.  As employers, having your star team members leave certainly makes us all sick to our stomachs.  That being said, if they ever have a better opportunity, I will encourage them and be proud of my contribution to their growth and success.  So to answer the doctor's question, Yes I will cheer for my employees if they ever leave.  Will you?

Darren Kaberna 



Why I cheer when my employees leave

Some companies are at their most vindictive when their employees are at their most ambitious. And when I say ambitious I mean the worker is considering leaving for a job at another company.

Some businesses go so far as a pre-emptive firing. Others sideline employees away from parts of their job. Then there's that general freak-out at the idea of someone is leaving (anyone see Suits last night?). Either way, once word gets out a job-seeker can expect endless water-cooler chatter and at least a few cold shoulders.

I don't want my best employees to leave. But I'm also proud when they do. I've tried to create an environment where employees will openly tell me about serious job offers. The first thing I say is, "Congratulations!"

For better or for worse, the idea someone will remain at a company long term is just so 2001. So if employers today are truly dedicated to their employees it means accepting they'll likely leave. I look at working with employees the same way I look at building my company. If I build a great company someone is going to want to buy it. If I have great employees who work hard, do well and grow professionally, someone will eventually want to come along and "buy" them too.

So when an employee starts at MedCity Media I tell them I'm dedicated to making them a success - and that includes knowing they may someday move on. I expect them to work hard and focus on their jobs. But when that good opportunity comes along they should privately pursue and let me know how I can help (and I conclude with, "Just give me a chance to beat the offer."). 

This approach does a few things. Most important, it shows you really do see your employees as something more than flesh-covered widgets. But it also eliminates leaving as a threat. You're announcing from the get-go that change is part of business and that the company is bigger than any individual (this is particularly important at small shops when departures can seem more dramatic than they are).

In essence, you say: "Yes, people will look for work. It's normal and it's something we strive for, since we're all trying to improve ourselves by being great at what we do. Let's wish all of us the best fortunes we can and keep moving forward. Now get back to work."

Great employees are so valuable. But no one is irreplaceable. And if someone offers your stars something better you have a choice: beat the offer or, if you can't, wish them well. 

Besides, don't you want a company packed with people striving to do better?