Your next IT star could be a former employee

Your next IT star could be a former employee

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Harvard Business Review How to Keep Your Top Talent CIO

It’s always a blow when a valued employee leaves your IT organization. Once they’ve announced plans to move on, it would be easy to just let them finish their final two weeks, wish them well, and never interact with them again.

But that’s not what I do. I try to turn the departures into opportunities. After all, the grass is not always greener on the other side. By maintaining relationships with our valued employees beyond their departure, we open the door to recruit them back into our IT organization in the future. Many times they’ll return with new skills and fresh perspectives.

How do we make it easier for departing employees to stay connected with their colleagues and maintain their friendships?

  • We invite them back to future social events, such as our summer ice cream socials, annual chili cook-off, winter cookout, and even our holiday party. I tell all parting employees they’re welcome to attend as my guest. We even cover the costs for them to attend. By making it easier for them to participate and join us socially, we’re increasing our chances of recruiting them back in the future.
  • Another thing I do, when an employee is transitioning out of the organization, is personally interview them as part of an exit process. I ask them all the same question: “If you were me, and assuming you had infinite resources, what’s the one thing that you would keep within the organization and what’s the one thing that you would change?” I ask them this because they’re often able to provide candid feedback that they may not ordinarily be comfortable sharing.

How do you handle the departure of valued employees? Do you connect with them on LinkedIn? Do you follow up with them after they’ve left?

For more on the subject, read Cynthia Stoddard's article, "Five ways CIOs can retain star performers."

Curt Carver is the Vice Chancellor and Chief Information Officer, Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.

Curtis A. Carver Jr., Ph.D. is the Vice President and Chief Information Officer for the University of Alabama at Birmingham. In this role servant leader and enabler of others, he leads a team of dedicated professionals focused on providing solution to the UAB through world-class IT with a focus on innovation, agility and cost efficiency.

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