Welcoming former employees back to the fold

A commitment to building a strong culture is a long journey that can have amazing highs and painful lows. One of the secrets to long-term success in creating a great place to work is an unwavering commitment to doing the right thing by others, especially during those painful lows.

As an employee, I have very little experience. In late 2003, less than a year after graduating from uni, I resigned from the only professional job I’ve ever had as someone else’s employee. In hindsight, it was a pretty simple decision: I decided not to continue in a job that didn’t inspire me. From the moment I resigned, one of the business owners, and my mentor for the first nine months of my 11 month tenure, stopped speaking to me. In fact, we’ve never spoken again.

In the post ‘recruitment starts with retention‘, I wrote of the small number of physios who moved out of The Physio Co family in 2012. Some of those physios are really great people and I was saddened when they moved on. I personally spent time with them, sought their feedback on why they were leaving and wished them all the best for the future before their last day with The Physio Co.

As a business owner and team leader, if a member of my team decides to move on to a new challenge, I always farewell them respectfully and wish them well for their new direction. I also try my best to keep some sort of tie with every The Physio Co alumni, usually via social media. You never know when being connected to someone you know and have worked with may be helpful.

Less than 12 months since that challenging time in 2012, at least one (and possibly two) of the guys who took a new job are re-joining The Physio Co family. It turns out that the grass isn’t always greener; in fact, it often turns out to be disappointing shade of brown.

Last week I sat with a previous TPCer who’d asked if we’d have her back. We chatted for an hour and it was like she’d never left. In just a few short months, she’ll again be helping The Physio Co keep oldies mobile, safe and happy. She’s even trying to recruit some of her friends to re-join our family too!

Caring for the great people in your life, even when they work for someone else, is an important skill for anyone committed to building a strong and long-lasting culture. By being honest, authentic and caring for the long-time careers of your best people, you might just find they take a short break and then return as an even more valuable team member.

Tristan White is a qualified physiotherapist, ironman triathlete, blogger and CEO of The Physio Co – Australia’s fifth Best Place to Work.


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