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...