No one likes losing talented assistants, but attrition is inevitable in all walks of life, so it's best to embrace it.
Writing for Harvard Business Review, Ryan Bonnici, the chief marketing officer for G2 Crowd, a Chicago-based software company, explained how he encourages his well-performing employees to seriously consider all job offers that come their way.
The reasons for this are multi-pronged, but at the top of the list is such a practice builds a culture of openness and trust within the organization. He writes:
By showing my team that I want to support them either way, I am creating a culture in which my employees feel comfortable sharing every career step with me.
When employees come to Bonnici with job offers, he'll first work to keep them by increasing their responsibilities and/or negotiating a pay raise. If that doesn't work and the employee is destined to leave, he'll then strategize with them in order to get the best offer from their new employer.
While this practice benefits the employee, it also offers long-term benefits for the employer as well. Employees who leave on good terms are more likely to recommend the company to other people, and they're also more likely to return to the firm and/or their manager down the road.
So a goodbye party for an employee may turn out to have been a “farewell for now.” If you can help them feel that the place they’re leaving is something of a work “home,” they just might return.
Investing in your assistants' career isn't just the right move for them, it's good for your program in the long run as well.