When they’re in boastful mood many companies talk about their retention rate, their ability to retain their employees for unusually many years. True, there are some who believe in an annual 5-10% cull of the least-well-performing staff (see Cull for a debate on this topic), but most companies, most of the time, want to keep their staff for as long as possible. They cherish them if they can. Indeed, there’s a whole Wikipedia article on the subject – Employee Retention.
I’ve never actually measured how well LLP Group does in this respect, but I have several colleagues who have been around nearly as long as I have, and I am glad of it. I interviewed some of them when I’d just got the company started and we were fewer than ten. Now we’re around one hundred. We are all ageing gracefully together and I presume we’ve got better at what we do.
But what pleases me even more than a high retention rate is employee return, and in recent times four of our best employees from the early years have returned to us. At the very least we must have parted amicably when they left us, and this is an important lesson for any employer. Many entrepreneurs in particular feel personally betrayed when a member of staff leaves. This is foolish, and tyrannical. It’s always the employer who must strive to provide a career path, an enjoyable workplace, and an opportunity for an employee to develop professionally. Sometimes, sadly, you can’t do that, and in that case you must understand that staff will move on, away, and up, if they are to fulfil their ambitions.
Joyful return presumes an amicable parting. When your employees leave you, you must bear in mind that he or she may become your customer, may recommend you, and may on occasion return to a more senior position in your organisation.
The return of an employee isn’t quite like the Biblical Return of the Prodigal Son, since employees usually leave to do good things rather than waste their parents’ inheritance, and they do not need forgiveness. But I was in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna last weekend and I like this 18th century painting by Batoni: So let’s make a loose comparison.
Anyway, I am flattered and pleased that in the last months and years these four not-in-fact-prodigal employees have returned to the LLP fold – older, wiser, and looking exactly the same:
Tereza Kodesova has returned to us as Group Marketing Director.
Monika Vostakova has returned to us as Chief Accountant.
Vaclav Polak has returned to us as Group Finance Director.
Dana Benakova has returned to us as a Senior Consultant.