Email Response: Considering Leaving the Firm
Yes, I changed the person’s name and reworded some sentences to protect the company’s identity. No, this is not my current or any former employer. If pressed for time, skip to the bottom for some questions to think about.
RE: Considering Leaving the Firm
I hope you and your family are doing well. Of course, Anh and I would love to catch up over dinner next month.
Based on your email, I understand that you are considering leaving your firm because you have some concerns regarding turnover, stability, and access to growth opportunities. Here are my thoughts on your decision.
I am not encouraging you to leave or stay. I want you to question your thinking on the topic so you can make the best-informed decision possible.
The last time I had a check-in with a few knowledgeable people, they shared with me that the turnover rate in your organization is well below industry norms. However, the more recent turnovers involve people who may be more visible in the company. Please make sure your feelings that “everybody is leaving” are not being unduly influenced by a Recency Bias. Based on the last salary and turnover survey I received, the average turnover rate for your industry in 2014 was 15%. Given that, you should expect to see about 70 people per year leave. Is the real issue that people you know are exiting the company? That is very different from saying the company cannot retain staff and everybody is leaving a sinking ship.
Given the changes in organizational direction over the last year, more senior personnel departures should be expected, and it may be healthy as it allows for different skill sets that align with the new strategy to join the organization. Personal feelings aside, look at the skills of the departing people and given the new company strategy, do you consider their skills (not the individuals) as regrettable losses?
People leave for many reasons such as a lack of confidence in management, interpersonal conflicts, a desire to work for larger or smaller firms, and preferences for working with (or not with) particular people. It is often said that engaged employees do not leave a company, they leave their manager. Do you trust the leadership team? If it is a trust issue, have you considered having an honest conversation with your SVP about your concerns? This conversation alone might sway you one way or another.
As to the long-term stability of the company, I have no idea. There are always organizational risks to every business. However, the investments being made in the new strategic direction do not make it seem, from the cheap seats at least, like your firm is getting ready to close its doors.
Your last concern had to do with access to growth opportunities. I am not close enough to have an informed opinion on this topic. However, I have seen many people in my career that talk about the lack of growth opportunities, and I have found that the issue may have more to do with their lack of a plan. Last year, we talked about your growth plan. Did you finish and review it with your SVP? What was her feedback and did an action plan get instituted?
Sorry to sound like a broken record, but this is a big decision, and you need to make sure that your “facts” are, in fact, a fact. Make sure you take the time to understand the deeper issues at play, so you know how to proceed.
As I see it, the decision should come down to some answers that are unique to you:
- Are you happy with the company, management team, your work environment, and compensation package?
- Would moving to a new company make you happier? If so, why? What are the root factors that come into play with the “whys?”
- Between your current company and the new organization, which offers you better growth and development opportunities given the level of effort and risk you are willing to invest?
- Which company is better accommodating your needs and those of your family (is one more family orientated or better with flex time/benefits)?
- Do you want to work with the new company’s team? I know you have some history with some of them. The strengths of that team are still there, and so are their weaknesses. If you left them originally because of conflicts or concerns about the leadership or company culture, then those concerns will come rushing back as soon as you join.
Let me know if I may help in any way.
All the best,