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Leaving is Okay
querki
jducoeur
Today's LinkedIn trawl turned up this interesting article, making the point that Apple Stores actually have a big sendoff for departing employees -- and how distressingly unusual that is. It's a damned good point, enough so that I've just added a Business Practices page to the Querki wiki (which I really do need to start transitioning to Querki itself), which so far just contains this:

Leaving is Okay

Every employee has their own career to attend to, and nobody knows that career as well as they do. That being the case, the company should be honest about the fact that people will sometimes choose to leave, and shouldn't be petty about it. So:
  • There should never be retribution towards an employee for choosing to interview somewhere.

  • If an employee is thinking about moving on, they should come talk to me about it frankly. I may try to convince them to stay, but should never coerce or pressure them.

  • We would appreciate as much notice as possible before you leave, so that we can manage a smooth transition. Employees should continue to work until their departure date, albeit with a growing focus on knowledge transfer.

  • Leaving parties are to be encouraged as much as joining ones: we should help the employee celebrate their new opportunity.

  • We will not practice the "clean out your desk and get out" nonsense, unless we have reason to suspect malfeasance. I certainly hope never to need to do something like that.
In general, the intent is to treat the employees with respect, and hope that they will do the same for the company.
It feels a bit weird to write all that down, probably 18 months before I can even begin to think about hiring anybody. But it's the sort of policy that is all too easy to forget in the crush of business-as-usual, and I think it's important. Most business are rather horribly co-dependent towards their employees, and I suspect one has to establish the right policies from the get-go in order to avoid that...

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In most of the companies I have worked for, an "equitable" departure usually included a send-off lunch or some other gathering. But those were mostly mature industries. The few occasions where a send-off didn't occur was usually because something untoward happened to trigger it.

I think it largely depends on the culture of the organization and a not just a little bit of the emotional maturity of management....

I was especially impressed by travel.ru website where they mentioned all the great people that worked for the company in the past. They are proud, not angry.

(Deleted comment)
And my usual: the MA technology sector is too small; don't burn bridges unless you really never want to work with that person ever again -- even at the cost of not working at a new company where they are, or just know someone.

Yep. I can count the number of those bridges that I have burned on the fingers of one hand (offhand, I think only twice in 30 years). It's not something to do lightly, and trebly so if you're in the small and incestuous startup world...

(I'd suggest adding an adjective before 'pressure' in the second bullet point. 'Undue' or 'inappropriate', maybe. If you trying to convince someone to stay, that's a form of pressure, albeit mild.)

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IANAL, but with respect to your last bullet point, I'd be very cautious at publishing that. That sort of policy can have interesting implications on 'at will' employment status, and means if you do have reasons to suspect malfeasance, but can't prove it (in a court), anyone fired under those circumstances would have increased grounds for a wrongful termination suit.


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Regardless, I love the sentiment. I wish more employers understood that they aren't supposed to be their employee's adversary.

We always have a lunch or drinks send-off for those who quit. The leaving person gets to choose the restaraunt.

It's always fun. We just feted off one of our summer interns with lunch. He was so pleased to get all of QA at his table and a 7$ free lunch.

I've had a distressingly opposite experience: the only time my longest-term former employer celebrated employees was when they left. No new-hire welcomes; no anniversaries; no birthdays. Only going-away parties.

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