I am fun. So why are my staff leaving?
Thursday, May 21, 2009/
Dear Aunty B,
I run an online business that is mature (in internet age.) I have just lost two valuable employees to a start-up because, according to them, they want to have “more fun” and feel they could make more of a contribution somewhere else.
I feel gutted by their desertion because they have been with me since day one. We now have 30-plus people, and so things don’t happen as quickly, but it is still a dynamic and fun place to work.
I am worried that others may also jump as I have a young, switched-on team and our business is growing up. We have always had a very high retention rate
How can I process this and move on?
You will be pleased to hear that Google also shares your problem. They are losing key executives to start ups. In fact they are developing an algorithm (their cure to all the world’s ills) to help identify which employees might quit. According to the Wall Street Journal, Google has already identified employees who felt underused, which is a key complaint against those who contemplate leaving.
And I loved this bit. Apparently the algorithm is so effective it can get inside people’s heads even before they know they might leave.
Gotta love Google. I mean what smart company needs an algorithm to spot an underused, grumpy employee, especially in a recession.
Anyway back to your question. Once you get over feeling gutted, you are going to start to feel very excited. Because these people have done you a favour. Often the “starters” can’t cope with the growing complexity in an organisation as it matures. They don’t have the skills to specialise nor the patience. They are not the people you need to get to the next level.
Usually the entrepreneur has to grapple with this fact and then move the “starters” on. But in your case they have done the hard work for you. You now have the opportunity to bring in highly trained people with new skill sets more appropriate to a fast growing business.
These people will also have the managerial skills to understand how to motivate teams and continue to make it fun as a company grows.
How will you process it? I suspect you already have. All these things come as a shock. But you’ll bounce back within a day or two. All you need to do is sit down and draw up a new job description and then start advertising and approaching people. The calibre of people available especially in the internet space who are between jobs or looking for change is very high.
Your Aunty B.
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