There are people who started a job, only to realize that it would be better to take a U-turn as soon as possible. To avoid letting things go out of control, some are known to have exited after just a day at the new workplace they thought they would not fit in. There are many reasons they would make such a decision, made palatable at times by the previous patch of grass which appears greener and welcoming again. Normally, employees enter and leave even the most-loved offices. Many of these moves merely follow, for instance, the rhythm of life or involve round holes and square pegs. However, the situation changes when factors such as policies and culture kindle an exodus, regardless of how slow or invisible it is.
In a digitally connected world, networking sites can reveal one’s career trajectory. Such platforms can give clues if their stints with different employers were milestones or not. Did too many executives leaving a corporate house together or in quick succession found start-ups, become consultants or enter the gig economy? This could be solely because of individual ambitions and priorities, to be buoyant and innovative in times of personal, organizational, sectoral or economy-wide turbulence, or just a harmless trend. Replacements will probably refresh the team they depart from, but in the second case, any elephant in the cabin might have a bearing on the business in big and small ways.
Word would spread sooner or later if a company is the industry equivalent of a professional’s haven, a launchpad for flights to better destinations, an airport lounge with a revolving door, a T-junction, or something a recruit had never imagined. So, should it be concerned about both current and former employees?
Some corporations nurture ties with staffers even after relieving them. The engagement goes beyond tracking their footsteps (down the aisle, too) and updating a directory with their whereabouts. Alum-focused activities range from the commercial to the social -- newsletters, discounts on products and services, access to company research or other content, general as well as exclusive job alerts, training sessions, live chats, webinars, voluntary opportunities, receptions, and more.
The alumni section of a US-based management consultancy’s website features stories on what ex-colleagues are doing. Among the ‘boomerangs’, a former partner who had returned after holding senior positions in various organizations talks about his past, present, and future work. An alumna gives insights into her just-launched book on interviews. Another discusses her new role at a ride-hailing multinational in north Africa. To those interested in data, an infographic shows that more than 40% of its ex-employees were in senior posts in some of the biggest technology MNCs.
A law firm, with offices in Singapore, Hong Kong, and other cities across the world, would not only provide ex-employees access to complimentary courses (continuing legal education) but also involve them in offering customized training to select clients and “friends”. Former co-workers could also look at job openings with its friends and clientele. Another one present in the US, the UK, and east Asia attracts them with study refinance loans and discounts to health clubs besides other benefits.
This is done not just to rehire, invite referrals (saving time, effort, and resources), cultivate brand ambassadors, and possibly do business or partner with individuals employers are familiar with. In a world of short-term employment contracts, annual performance reviews, and quarterly results, some of the groups reverberate with recollections of lifelong friendships and how the old company “always felt like family”.