Organisations, in their effort to create a sense of belonging for their employees “fall into the trap” of promoting themselves as “being a family”. There are plenty of reasons why this “family” organisational approach may not work out to the employer’s benefit. Firstly, families, when things are tough, stick together, we don’t “lay off” people for financial or performance reasons. Secondly, when companies promote that “family” element, we often consider voluntary resignations as betrayal and senior managers feel deceived.
Even though employee retention remains an HR KPI for the last decades, and long tenure has multiple benefits that are well-recognised, people leaving is part of the employer-employee relationship. We always celebrate and give service awards for milestones like “10 years of service” but does this mean that we should penalise those that decide not to stay forever? We should be in a position to evaluate the reasons that make people go and recognise that people very often resign because they search for new challenges, task variety or career progression. When we are not in a position to provide career and/or learning opportunities to our employees who have untapped potential, it is a matter of time for them to search for something new, but we should not close the door to them forever.
How about cultivating an “alumni” culture? Where we accept resignations with an understanding attitude, keep in touch with our employees who have resigned, proving that we genuinely cared and their employment was not a transactional relationship, and review with an open mind the possibility of re-employ them with new skills, diverse experiences, and perspectives if a relevant opportunity arises. Why shut the door to somebody that has been “like family” devoting years of work to us?