What is the average tenure of your employees there?

What is the average tenure of your employees there? Have you checked recently? About industry average? Above? Below? (by the way, industry average is 15.1%) The answer sometimes surprises. Drilling down, in the software industry, the average tenure is 18 months. 

According to Jason Fried (Basecamp CEO), columnist for Inc. and fellow VISTAGE partner, "…people still leave. Some want to try things at other companies, or the fit isn't right, so we have to let them go. It's the natural cycle of business."

Further, according to Fried, "what's never been natural is how the departures are handled." In my travels, I validate this everyday. I find that most employee departures become unspeakable.

We learn that at Basecamp, they've created a ritual where EVERYONE knows when someone leaves. They tell everyone in the company WHY. Fried reminds us that when there is a mystery in a community, e.g. a company community, people will solve it themselves. If they don't know the real reasons, they make it up. Information vacuums fill with rumors  and rumors lead to anxiousness and anxiety.

At Basecamp, they give the departing employee, voluntary or not, the option of saying goodbye on their own terms (absent any personal attacks or slights, of course). After a few days, the employee direct manager follows up with an e-mail that provides any missing detail about the departure. It's important to be transparent, clear and honest. For proverbial "conduct detrimental", Basecamp says as much acknowledging that they cannot divulge specific details. 

In closing, a real attempt is made by the employer to humanize the departure with utmost dignity and respect. Please don't fool yourself as an employer if you wear that hat. Breakups can be messy. Trust gets shaken. 

"Instead, take a deep breath, embrace the uncomfortable, and tell everyone why," according to Fried.

What do you think?

jsexton

919-302-1719
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