I wanted to like this strategy about handling returning employees, I really did. But I couldn’t…
I attended a conference recently in which one of the speakers talked about doing group interviewing. It’s another idea that I wanted to like, but just couldn’t. Nevertheless, another thing the speaker noted was that every year she makes every single employee reapply for their position.
Obviously, this is great (and mandatory) with new employees, but up for debate with returning employees.
The old me loved it and was a lot tougher to work with and for, but only if you failed to get your work done. The old me would have agreed to make the returning employees go through the process, run ’em through the ringer, see how much they really want it. I would have.
The new me doesn’t like it so much. As a leader, I feel a bit more relaxed these days. I realize that people make the difference in business. You could have the best product in the world, but without the right people behind the product, it could be tough to sell. I like to look at the employees who give us so much year after year and trust that they’re back for the right reasons. If they’re not, we will cross that bridge when we get there, but nobody should have to feel like they have to fight for their job every year unless they deserve to (in which case they probably should have been let go anyway).
After the conference, I heard of an employee was told to reapply for a position they’ve held for seven years. Being the second time in a week, I had to write about it.
Is this the right thing to do?
I see benefits to it, I truly do. People can change. When they leave you for parts of the year and return to you, maybe they have changed. I could understand checking in with them, but making them go through the “process” again? Their past work is often a better indicator than any interview, in my opinion. If someone followed the interview returning employees model, it could be a way to weed out people who feel too comfortable in their positions, complacent if you will.
I also see the downside to it. Having gone through it myself, and hearing others around me, people feel less secure about their jobs. It’s easy to ask, why must I go through the process if I did a good job before? Part of building a brand and identity is having loyal employees, and it’s a big part. A manager is only one person who can affect change in the business. Their subordinates will be hundreds of loyal followers who help spread positive messages or hundreds of less than secure minions who don’t give a damn.
My opinion is to take care of your team. Athletes don’t come back to try out every year. Sure there are training camps, which are great opportunities to see what each player can do, but those are more for training hence the words training camp. You chose them for your team for a reason. Let them be on your team until they give you a reason otherwise.
*This article pertains specifically to seasonal and temporary employees that work parts of the year, but it may translate to many businesses and other models.
For more tips on handling staff and other people around you check out Life Lessons From Summer Camp.