One often overlooked tip for managing people:
Treat people who leave your company or team well, and speak highly of them after they are gone. Encourage your team to only speak positively about ex employees.
Last impressions are important. People who leave can have an important impact on your organization and your effectiveness as a manager.
People talk. Especially after they leave a job. Get former team members to speak positively about working for you and your organization. You never know who your best recruiter will be. Make it an ex-employee.
Smart employees know if you speak badly about someone who just left, eventually you are going to do the same to them. Trust quickly erodes.
As, Sallie Krawcheck writes in A Simple Way to Get a Handle on a Company’s Culture:, “In some companies, as soon as an employee leaves, he or she quickly goes from being a “valued partner” to the one who “never really cut it.” Whom the company is “better off without” and “the guy we were about to fire anyway.”
When you treat ex-employees well, not only do they look good, but YOU, the manager, look better. Zappos famously gave employees a $2,000 incentive to quit the company. You bet those ex-employees had some nice things to say about their time at Zappos, even if the job wasn’t a fit.
A friend of mine was recently working for a start-up that got bought out by Apple. He lost his job. However, Apple vested his shares, gave him a generous severance package, and an awesome referral. Apple turned an ex-employee who could have been negative into a positive supporter.
Many consulting firms, law firms, and Universities, employ an “up or out” culture, but help employees who don’t stick around. Former employees are treated as “alumni,” not “guys who failed.” As Krawcheck highlights, effective managers recognize the power of a strong network. Respect translates into referrals.
As a manager you should be able to answer “Where have my people gone after leaving?” It looks great if your people have advanced in their careers while and after they were under your management. Champion your team for moving on and for their success.
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