Creating long lasting relationships – Boomeranging Employees
Without people, there would be no Persistent. People are our most valuable asset and as such we invest a lot towards keeping them happy, engaged and excited at the workplace. But what happens when they decide to explore new shores and wish to come back after a stint elsewhere?
Recently, there has been a lot of talk around “boomeranging” employees. Besides the obvious advantages of getting back a person who is well versed with a company’s work ethic, culture and processes there are many more aspects to how companies perceive boomeranging employees.
In a way, when one of our people leaves, they become one of our strongest ambassadors in the corporate world as they share with others the knowledge and experience gained during their time at Persistent. Given that, I’m compelled to put my thoughts down on the subject since I’d like to elaborate a bit on how we at Persistent feel about boomeranging employees.
First of all, we don’t think of employees who leave as “ex” employees, we treat them as alumni. It’s interesting because alumni is derived from the Latin verb alere, which means to nourish, and that’s what we hope we’ve done with their minds and development. What we have observed over the years is while attrition is a part of business, it doesn’t mean it has to be the end of a relationship. We truly respect an individual’s choices. We know that this trust in the individual and respect for their choices pays rich dividends in the long run. Many individuals keep associated with us and they come back while many also work with us independently on consulting assignments.
Our approach is very simple, and frankly very “human,” we just stay connected and believe that once a Persistentian is always a Persistentian! We think of these people as our friends who have played an important role in the development of the company and we’re interested in their continued development. We invite all our alumni to our foundation day and I have heard from many of them that they look forward to this day to visit the Persistent office and connect with their colleagues. In fact, many make it a point to come with their family.
To give you an instance of how we stay in touch with our alumni, a couple of years back, we opened an office in Bangalore. We were new to the city and we knew that some of our employees had relocated there after leaving Persistent. We made sure to let them know of our new offices and that we would love to catch up with them. It was incredibly gratifying to us that so many came – about 50 of our alumni! A great thing is that there were some people we didn’t have contacts for, yet when they got the news, they came. Some came along with their spouses and some even brought their kids. Some also got their friends along and referred them to Persistent for a job in our new facility.
Given the close relationship we share, we value and encourage boomeranging employees and take it as a point of real pride that so many alumni who leave return “home” after a few years. Through the years we have seen this phenomena at all levels; from the junior ranks – many of whom aren’t so junior anymore – right up to CXOs. And we see this across all the functions from Sales, Delivery, Admin to HR in the organization. When I meet Persistent alumni during recruitment events, I am always curious to know what got them to come back and I get all kind of interesting answers, ranging from ‘I met Anand (our CEO) in a conference and realize how much I missed working for such an inspiring leader”, “I missed the work culture” to “I missed my Performing Arts team” to “I missed Persistent lunch!”
Our EVP and Head of Sales Sudhir Kulkarni and our former Executive Director and Head of Persistent Leadership Institute Nitin Kulkarni are some notable employees who’ve not only come back to Persistent but also grew to take-up the leadership positions during their 2nd stint at Persistent. The general consensus we’ve received is that at a lot of our employees come back because they feel that at Persistent they are valued and there’s a strong work culture that honors employee contributions. We also offer good engagement activities, strong team spirit and good work opportunities, along with complete transparency in our processes and the employees also value Anand’s mentorship and have faith in the management.
While their reasons for leaving as you’d imagine vary, ranging from an urge to explore what else is out there, better job offers, relocating to a different city, to higher education, in the end the pull of Persistent’s work culture and ethos is what brings a lot of them back.
Boomeranging employees is not just about how engaged they were with the organization, but also how the organization remains engaged with them even after they leave!
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