August 9, 2022
Because of the segment in which Underdog.io operates, we're witness to a lot of screwy HR situations involving employees and their managers. On a handful of occasions, we've seen employees get into trouble when their employers find out that they're taking interviews elsewhere. The fallout is usually some version of this: "my employer fired me after finding out that I was casually meeting with other companies. They said they only want people who are 100% committed to our team and our mission."
This is so problematic that I barely know where to begin.
As a founder, executive, or manager, you don't own your employees. It’s inevitable that workers will choose to move on from your company, especially when the labor market is healthy. The default response to employee turnover doesn’t have to be hostility. Take McKinsey, the (controversial-for-other-reasons) consulting firm. Rather than cutting ties with employees that choose to explore the job market, McKinsey often keeps its consultants on payroll while they run their job search and then maintains close contact with them after they’ve landed a new gig via alumni events, online tools, and more. This model is transparently self-serving, as high-powered ex-McKinseyites rise through the corporate ranks and become future McKinsey clients. Beyond that, ending things on good terms gives McKinsey a chance to re-recruit these alums without having to incur the usual costs associated with a new hire. That means no staffing firm or job board fees, no time lost to interviews, and more. It’s brilliant.
Managers have a choice when their employees signal an interest in leaving. They can keep clinging to an antiquated corporate ownership structure or they can turn employee turnover into an advantage by handling exiting employees with maturity and thoughtfulness.