Boomerang employees are proof that your corporate culture is healthy.
“I knew that Micrel was the best place that would allow me to grow and develop,” said one of our boomerang bunch. Long ago I noticed that Micrel has a high rate of return employees, and they all said a variety of things that confirmed the solidity of Micrel’s culture. In a world where employer and employee loyalty are at record lows and falling, to attract, keep and regain great staff is more important than ever.
People leave employers for a variety of reasons. They might want more money. They might not like their job. They might even dislike their supervisor. All these are symptoms of a diseased culture, or in the case of some college graduate hires, a lack of perspective concerning the real world. The grass often looks greener elsewhere, and sometimes it is depending on how recently the Astroturf was installed. Yet the grass may look greener on the original side of the fence once an employee has left.
But ponder the three issues I listed; money, job and boss. A weak corporate culture might tolerate a bad boss, and thus create unhappy employees. It could allow good employees to mire in jobs they grow to hate. Any degree of unhappiness then makes money look like a viable morale boost. Most people don’t really leave because there is a significantly better deal elsewhere. They leave because the deal they currently have does not make them happy.
As I discuss at length in Tough Things First, the basis of human happiness is in having value. There are many unhappy people with tons of money. There are empty souls within people who have fame. Each lacks a sense of personal worth. Make an employee feel worthless, and no amount of money will keep them for long. Make their value to the corporate mission obvious to them, and they not only stay for a very long time, but also if they do leave, they will likely return.
In my experience at Micrel, and from the culture I crafted there, boomerang employees return because:
- Unmet expectations: They discover that their new opportunity wasn’t what they expected. Just because the grass looks greener doesn’t mean that it is.
- Money ≠ Happiness: We pay well, but desperate competitors overpay employees. The lure of fatter paychecks comes at the price of working for an organization focused on money and not people.
- Family: Many companies are merely employers, but Micrel is like a family, and people discover that they like family. The want of money or new tasks rarely bests working with people you love and respect, and who love and respect you.
- Culture: Honesty, integrity, dignity of every individual, and doing whatever it takes. Those are the core values of Micrel’s corporate culture. These are values that any good person appreciates.
- A safe environment: Yes, Micrel has a “no swearing” policy. We have many policies designed to maintain employee dignity and produce a peaceful workplace. Employees are encouraged to never to use condescending language.
- Helping human betterment: I believe in helping people become better people – better workers, fathers, husbands, wives, citizens. By making better people, we make better employees, and better employees make miracles happen.
“I wanted to make sure my skill set was not stale and remained competitive in the wider market,” said another of my boomerang employees. “In other words, to ensure that I was not becoming complacent with a known (comfortable) environment, and was continuing to develop professionally and broaden my skill set. In leaving Micrel and entering a new environment, I gained perspective. I came to realize that the job I had left had actually offered as much or more opportunity for job growth and skill set enhancement. I hadn’t fully appreciated how much the relationships I had built up over time had empowered me to make a difference.”
Call your HR department and find out how many boomerang employees you have. If this simple key performance indicator seems low when you first read your company’s stats, then start looking at your culture, how it builds the employee and exposes their value.