Why we should create Formerly Employees

Make the most of the time you have with employees. Create a culture and environment where they don’t want to leave - create Formerly Employees.
Why we should create Formerly Employees
Gary Willmott

As a CEO, I’m very aware of the focus on employee retention and keeping key employees for a good number of years...

But, with where the future of work is going this is becoming more and more unrealistic. In fact, I remember in my dad’s generation, you would usually work at the same workplace for your whole career! However, these days a long tenure is roughly +-5 years.

The median number of years that wage and salary workers have worked for their current employer is currently 4.6 years, according to an Economic News Release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This longevity varies by age and occupation:

  • The median tenure for workers age 25 to 34 is 3.2 years.
  • The median tenure for employees age 65 and over is 10.3 years.
  • Workers in management, professional, and related occupations had the highest median tenure (5.5 years).
  • Workers in service occupations had the lowest median tenure (3.2 years).

Reid Hoffman argues that no one works for one company for their entire lifetime anymore, and that managers shouldn’t pretend that people do.

Instead, employees & employers should agree upon short increments of work to accomplish together — much like a military tour of duty.

What does this mean for managers?

I’m not saying chop and change employees like your underpants.

I’m suggesting, make the most of the time you have with employees. Create a culture and environment where they don’t want to leave.

But when (not if) they do leave, make sure they are proud to include your company in their bio. Create memories that people will always talk about when they reminisce about the good times they had working with you & your company.

Here are some suggestions on how to create formerly employees:

  • Leave the door open for staff to return after their exit.
  • Give more praise and recognition — it’s not always about money or tangible extrinsic rewards!
  • Give continual feedback.
  • Give them the opportunity to create something that receives feedback from customers, even if it’s a failure! This kind of insight is gold for their future career/s 🏅
  • Set clear objectives and goals. Goals that could even lead them to their next job.

Top of my mind, here is a list of companies that have created formerly employees: Uber, GitHub, Google, Airbnb, HubSpot, Apple, Amazon, Buffer, Dropbox, Tesla Motors, Facebook, Instagram, Stripe, Spotify, Twitter, Netflix, Slack, Lyft, Basecamp, Zappos.

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