What Businesses Should Learn from the Military – Part VI, Human Investment

Brandon+King+Enlistment+Ceremony+Service+Members+YgOjeO6NF6OlIgnore the “Training Them to Leave” Myth

Consider this, the Marines are one of the worst places imaginable to work. Set aside all your stereotypes about getting shot at twenty-four/seven. There are actually a lot of stressful things, day to day, that are not very enjoyable about working there. Add to this an incredibly low pay, relative to the social prestige often given and you wonder why anyone would enlist. A better question is, “Why, four years later, do the these people re-enlist?” The point is that people keep coming back to the military because they are fulfilled by their job. They enjoy it (somehow.) They feel valued, important, and that they are growing in their career and as people.

“Training them to leave,” you say? Whatever dude. Make it worth their while to stay. Unless you are a moron, you will know a person’s worth (or cost) is far more than the amount you pay them. They, however, are far more aware of it. If they leave, it is rarely about pay and compensation. It is usually because they are unhappy with the culture, their boss or team, or they don’t feel safe working for you. Train them and you eliminate most of that.

I knew one boss who had a marvelous realization. He said that everyone is only here so long as it suits them. As soon as they get an opportunity for a better life, they are going to take it, and he encouraged them to. Why wouldn’t he? He actually cared about his employees. It is natural to seek the best opportunity you can get. He knew he was going to if handed the chance, so why punish that behavior?

Accept it, but remember, there is such a thing as the psychological trait of loss aversion. People are naturally more afraid of losing something good than they are willing to chance something better. People who love their job don’t want to risk getting a new one because most of us are simply more afraid of losing a good thing than gaining something that might be better. Simply put, you can’t stop your people from getting opportunities  to leave, in fact, if they are good at their job, they are going to pulled upon my many people. What you can do, is make their desire to stay greater than their lust for a new position at some other company. If you make your people happy, they’ll stay.

Make the right choice, invest in them as a way of investing back into your company. The whole system will work better in the end, so much so, that the increased value in everyone else can afford to lose the few that leave. Whatever the case, you should be happy for those that do leave. If you made their work life a good one, they will leave thankful for having worked for you and maybe even be your business emissaries outside to potential contacts. Imagine what work is being done in your name when your old developer is talking about how much they loved working at your company to a bunch of interns at a different company. You can’t hire recruiters that good.
Blues


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