You Say Goodbye, but I Say Hello
Last Friday we said goodbye to one of our Boston employees in our kitchen over cupcakes arranged by her manager who was Skyped into the gathering, as she works remotely on Fridays. One of the people reminded this employee that she's now officially an LPP alum. The good will in the room as people shared fun moments with this individual and looked forward to connecting with her in the future as an alum and -- who knows -- maybe some day as a client -- made me think about how important it is to handle the communication and the entire process of saying "goodbye" to a good employee when they make the decision to move on. There was a good article about this in the Globe and Mail yesterday morning that talks about this and how it can encourage employees to come back to an employer in the future if circumstances change. We have had that situation a number of times in our history.
We've gotten much better about this over our history as an agency. We certainly have handled it much better than the situations I faced in my own career when I moved on from my prior companies. When I left my first job, after five years, in order to move to Boston with my new husband, the reaction was one of quiet betrayal and then a sort of shunning. People stopped by to claim staplers and office supplies and everyone focused on the new person who would be taking my position. I was an after thought. It certainly did not bond me to that organization or, really, to its team members. My second departure was even tougher, as I left a publication after three years to join a startup that would be competitive. It was a difficult decision that I weighed carefully and have never regretted. However, the over-reaction of the editor and the decision to walk me out the door was not good, in my humble opinion. It fueled my competitive spirit to compete even more aggressively against that publication in my new role. It also impacted my relationship with some of those co-workers, which was a shame. When I decided to leave my second publication, after three years, to co-found the agency, it was handled differently. There was a going away party for me. The publisher checked in with me to wish me well. Because this was a startup publication that grew rapidly and was a wild ride, I am forever bonded with that team and they remain close friends. The way my departure was handled endeared them and the publication to me further.
Departures at any client services organization are difficult to manage. Clients don't like change and the focus always is on the agency to maintain as much stability as you can and make any transition seamless when the inevitable change does occur. We've tried hard over the years to work with our great team to provide good growth opportunities within the agency and to work with them when life circumstance or changing career direction prompt them to move on. The young woman who left last Friday handled her departure as professionally as you possibly can. She gave us plenty of notice -- more than she needed to -- so we could plan for the transition and find appropriate replacements for her on her accounts. She left on very good terms with everyone in the agency. It is clear she is a friend of ours and now will be a supporter of the agency as an alumni. Her manager's supportive going away party and note to the agency lauding her work has made this departure easier for her, I'm sure, and has left her with a much better impression of us than my first two job experiences did for me.
LPP hosts an active Alumni network to stay connected with the great people who have worked with the agency over our more than 25 years. We distribute a regular Alumni newsletter and host events for current members to network with past LPPers. It is always great to hear about how they are doing and what impact their time at our agency has had on their careers. After all, our people are our assets and developing them into fantastic PR people is our most important job.