When we accept the work commitment from a person we hire, we make a pact with the new employee that often stops at agreeing to pay for service rendered and to provide a safe working environment.
There should be more than that. With some people you hire, you know you are just renting their services as they pass through your organization, aimed at a higher calling. Others want to know that they are signing on to a career, not a job, and expect to move up within the ranks or on to a larger company that can accommodate their goals.
A recent statistic I saw surprised me. But as I thought of examples of people I know, it seemed more accurate than I would have imagined. The average new college graduate today will work thirteen jobs in his or her career, in an average of five different fields. Ouch! What happened to a job for life? How can employers expect complete loyalty if there is no clear upward path to the top for the best new hire?
[Email readers, continue here…] The answer coming from the best of breed in corporate personnel management is to form a trusted bond with that openly-identified employee, helping that person to manage his or her career within and preparing to follow the company experience. If a superstar agrees to work for you for a period while learning the ropes to move to a better job elsewhere, assuming that there is candor in the communication by the employee and a level of trust in and by the employer, it is perfectly proper to offer to help that employee succeed. The pact between employee and employer is that the employee gives the best possible service to the company, in return for the company helping the employee to grow in, and perhaps beyond the position.
Especially with young entrepreneurial CEOs, this feels to them like a stick up. “Give me your money, and I will work only until I find a better job.” And that attitude might be warranted if the employee just performs to the minimum required level, marking time to the next opportunity. But if the person has skills and knowledge that the company needs, there is the basis for a fair trade of talent and time for a later organized, positive move to the next level outside of the company.
With that openly positive corporate attitude, you can celebrate the growth of the employee with a party as the person graduates, instead of either feeling anger when an employee resigns with short notice, or being suspicious that the employee will leave with trade secrets in tow. Certainly other employees will see the supportive behavior, understand the company’s contribution to the career of this upwardly mobile employee, and celebrate not only the graduation event but the great culture of the company itself.