Sometimes Great Employees Leave and It’s OK

Sometimes Great Employees Leave and It's OK

It’s true that the best people often leave – and nowhere is this more true than in the tech world. But… this can be a good thing. The Wall Street Journal reported last year that leaders of many exceptional companies have not only accepted this truth, but have embraced it and believe they are the better for it. What becomes important, then, is to have an organization that is a good place to advance – and thus focus on a talent flow of remarkable individuals.

Good Talent is on an Upward Trend

The best new hires are people with plans. They have plans to be a Senior Developer, Lead Architect, CTO, or to work on specific kinds of projects that drive their passions. They are ambitious, hungry, and eager to prove themselves. They are looking to level up in the next few years – and they will ensure that they have a track record at your company to justify it.

Hiring people who are on this trend will ensure that you have the best people who want to leave a mark on your projects and your company. Having this kind of talent raises the water mark for everyone who works with them. Obviously, if you have the positions available, promote them and keep them as long as you can. But you can’t promote everyone – and if someone gets an opportunity, they most likely are going to take it.

It’s About the Team

People who work like this understand that the best resources are the people they work with and for. They know they need to make a mark on people if they want to work their way up. They want to have good references so that they can utilize their network. This means they recognize the importance of helping out their team and making sure that deliverables are met, as well as generally providing good work.

Good Leaders Keep Good People

Here’s something to consider: according to a recent study engaged employees are more productive, more motivated, considerably more creative and much less likely to leave. But whether they leave comes down to their manager and the company culture. We have talked a lot on our blog about the importance of culture. But overall, a host of factors can help good people stay:

  • Work/life balance. Productivity drops at 50 hours/week; hours over 55 are so unproductive it negates the extra work.
  • Recognition of work. Everyone is working hard and they should feel appreciated, valued and respected.
  • Opportunities to grow. Offering opportunities to train, recognizing people’s passion (and pushing them towards it) and generally being an advocate for each and every employee is a manager’s key directive.
  • No tolerance for mediocrity. Tolerating people who don’t do a good job and promoting the wrong people because they “put in their time” serves only to frustrate those who work hard and are more deserving. Excellence should be rewarded, not time served.
  • Open doors. Two-way communication is always key – everyone should know when their manager is happy or disappointed with their work, and likewise, managers should listen to their employees’ concerns and be understanding. A little communication goes a long way.

Make Your Company the Best Launchpad

Instead of dreading your best people leaving, embrace it. Your company will be the better for it. People flock to be a product manager at Google because it’s well known that this can be a stepping stone to being a startup CEO. What kind of applicants do you think they get for their PM positions? Damn good ones.

In addition, when people move through your company, you create a network of alumni. This alumni network helps each other out, and they can be resources for finding future talent and even future customers for your company. And the better your alumni do, the more future talent will recognize your organization as the place they want to be.

We promote these ideals at Modus Create. We do this by making it a driving principle to create a company made up of individuals who are passionate and excel at what they do. This in combination with cultural advantages of remote work and work/life balance can provide a place that professional technologists can use as a stepping stone to a greater place, or, we hope, to stick around and make Modus (and our clients) the better for it.

A company worth working for is something all companies – especially in tech – should strive for. And part of that is accepting that good people will leave, and that it can be a very good thing.

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