Saturday, July 24, 2010

The "I can leave" culture

I've been observing an interesting culture in my work environment lately. There seems to be an "I can leave" mantra amongst most of the more senior development team. In my previous job, there was no such talk of other opportunities, better environments, etc, simply due to the fear of being fired. Basically, if you are looking elsewhere, you aren't committed and we are going to let you go. More of a fear instilled into the staff really not to talk about such things.

As compared to this, this "I can leave" concept if very different. Number one, there is no fear. People are well trained and are "senior" because they execute well and know a lot. In the event of a release or fire, everyone is well aware that they can land something soon there after. Number two, its common for people to leave our environment, the retention is low and turn over is fast, while at the same time, the demand for resources continuously grows, meaning the company needs the people that are leaving.

While I've become aware of this, I am not sure how or what a company could do about it because it's likely their fault for loosing control of the matter. An excuse I could imagine is a first job syndrome for those leaving, where the mindset is the grass must be greener. That is sometimes true when moving across company sectors, but staying the same, I am sure its not any better. Another might be pay? Or the type of work?

Regardless, I would suggest any company going through this to fix it. Observe your workforce better. Change something. Pay more. Or weed out the "leavers" and instill a different culture in your new crowd. In any case, its not good, because the mantra will simply get passed along as people grow and they realize there is likely something better and at the moment they are invaluable to the current employer because they can't afford to be let go.

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