Doing everything you can for the promotion of your employees in their work environment, well-being and satisfaction comes with great rewards. Mentoring and fostering good people always comes with investment and often you wont see the depth of that investment while your making it. Eventually, whether you expected it or not, that investment will be felt.
Great employees get poached, head hunted, sought after or integrated to other departments frequently, and it’s how you handle this move that sets the tone for the rest of your people. Some managers I know take the movement of employees very personally, assigning the loss of that investment as detrimental. And I would agree, the investment loss can be hard to take.
However, as a manager that helped develop that talent your true feeling should be and needs to be one of pride and support. If you’re a reader/believer in this blog you have empowered your people and got out of their way while they did great things. Despite the effort involved in this process great employees need to be challenged, and sometimes despite your best efforts that challenge needs to come from other arenas.
Now is your time to prove your mentoring was not a part time affair, instead, encourage and promote the growth. I recently told an employee, one of my best, I would gladly recommend him for a job outside of the company he was seeking if he felt that was something he needed to investigate. I know of another manager that would have done everything to get rid of this employee before the move, fearing that one of the messages her employees leaving sends is the sign of her inadequacies.
Instead, and with my help and encouragement this employee has been shifted to another area within the organization and we still work together daily. He’s an amazing talent and a friend, neither of which you want to alienate by being someone who encouraged great work and then demanded less of them in their career arc. If he had left I would talk with him regularly and encourage any other growth thoughts that he would entrust to me.
It’s honestly a win-win if you support the people that you have worked with, encouraged and mentored regardless of what the destination is. If it’s growth they seek and you know they will flourish in other settings, do all you can to help them get there and then fill the position with more amazing people. It’s hard, but I encourage you to prop them up and never tear them down, you will get friends and foster mentorship in them, and that is one of the best gifts you can give.