I love to watch the professional growth of my employees. Especially since I frequently employ people in their early 20’s, I get to see a crazy huge amount of growth in them professionally and personally.
Since I enjoy it so much, I also think my company fosters a wonderful atmosphere for growth. Now, I’ll say, we’re not an “up-or-out” company. Water finds its level, and sometimes the best thing for someone is to sit tight in a comfortable spot. That brings its own joy as people truly become experts in what they do.
Today, though, I’m thinking about the shooting stars. Employees who learn and grow and learn and grow and rise up from the mail room to the executive suite. Okay, we don’t have either of those, but we do have entry-level employees and we have senior engineers and our senior engineers started with us as entry-level folks!
I want my employees to grow, and they do, but we recently ran into a new situation. I had an employee, with me for over 5 years, who grew from entry level to senior engineer and then…I didn’t have anywhere else for him to go. He was at the top of the company, at a level of sophistication where I was accepting client work at a very high level of complexity that literally only he could accomplish.
The situation was ultimately untenable, and this employee decided to leave and seek his fortune at a much larger company where he could continue his technical growth.
The cost of this person leaving was very high for us in a few ways. There is now work we can’t do, and there was a period of chaotic adjustment to his departure.
Ultimately, though, it led to something wonderful I have seen time and time again. Since my company has a growth (if you want it) mindset, others quickly grew to fill the gaps. Removing one person with one skillset created holes for others to fill. Where before maybe there was a “weight” on top of the company, a security blanket of “this person knows everything” when they left, many others stepped up and said “ah, well, now I will learn this or that thing to fill the gap.”
So we’ve moved from having one top-level expert to several people expert in different areas. What more could I want?
Lesson -> When senior people leave, think of the new opportunities it creates for those who remain!