When I worked at Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) it was a fact of life that after most major engagements they would lose some senior people, who would be hired by their clients. It was a bitter-sweet scenario because losing well trained, key people is hard for any company … however these ex-employees became great clients! They knew the Andersen model, had good relationships with the senior people and were comfortable in using their services. Ultimately this has been a part of the company’s success.
Over the years there have been many great people who have worked at Eagle. Regardless of whether they left to pursue other opportunities or whether we mutually determined their skills were better suited elsewhere, they were great people.
I have worked at many companies during my career and whenever I run across old “workmates” it is a positive experience. We reminisce, catch up on where familiar people have gone and generally are happy that each has seen success over the years. So the camaraderie between ex-employees is generally positive for any company. It is the relationship with the former employer that can be strained.
I heard from one ex-Eagle employee lately who had a feeling that we harbored some kind of ill-will because they had left our company to pursue other opportunities! That surprised me and I spent some time trying to think through why they would feel that way. I came to the conclusion that, like most companies, we are not very good at parting ways with our people. These are people who spent time here as part of our team, people who we invested in training and who worked hard for us. Surely we should be able to part ways nicely!
The reality is we DO understand people sometimes leave for very good reasons, or for their own reasons. We understandably are “upset” because we are losing a good person, and upset because it means work for us … and I think we let that negative message come through louder than the knowledge that they are good people, they did good work, we appreciate them and we do wish them well! We need to emphasise the positive more!
I think most companies are like this … they do not maintain good relations with former employees! Yet ex-employees are a great asset in the market … if they like you! They can become clients and might even return to your company someday … we have seen this. Maybe I should have learned better from my former employer Accenture, they have GREAT relationships with their ex-employees. Maybe I’m a late bloomer, but I’m also an old dog that CAN learn new tricks!
Note to self: Be nice if someone decides to quit! Well don’t be TOO nasty anyway!