The departure of our beloved Tash from the Rice team has had an inevitable knock-on effect. Aside from having absolutely no one to talk about the inner workings of Casa Amor or any aspect of Love Island, there is a slightly more frequent problem. I and Sean are now locked in a Djokovic v Federer esq rally, going back and forth, trading pop culture references with potential defamation lawsuits from the desk of Mr. M Douglas. In our respective weeks off, we are constantly on the lookout for blog inspiration; trends in the market, comments by candidates, changing attitudes of clients, etc. This week was rather simple, the source of my added workload has become my blog topic in an almost M. Knight Shyamalanic twist! When a person leaves your business, how are they treated?

As my opening sentence suggests here at Rice, we are the well-wishing types, very much subscribing to the “if you love something set it free” school of thought. We hold fond memories of past employees and they have a permanent name tag waiting for them at any Pow Wow/event we host. Now, I know that isn’t always the case. I’ve heard numerous stories of consultants leaving under a dark cloud with their years of service, thousands of dollars billed amounting to nothing once that resignation letter has been handed in. I once knew a director, who in their office, had a picture of members of staff at an incentive event. Nothing scandalous at first glance but under closer inspection, there was something off about the picture. All the member of staff that had left the business were painstakingly blacked out with a permanent marker, making them resemble still locked characters from a video game.

Thankfully the whole “once they’re gone, they’re dead” attitude is less prevalent in today’s market. It is a very short-sighted exit strategy. Chances are, that consultant is going into another agency and its human nature to slag your ex, probably not wise to give them ammunition and irrefutable proof that you’re the massive bastard they’re painting you as in the group chat. This is what causes agencies to get a bad name. On the other hand, if a consultant who has left the business chooses to come back; that’s priceless!

To the scores of faithful Whiteboard subscribers who long for the sight of a blog notification like the first Pohutukawa blossom of summer know I tend to draw comparisons from the footballing universe. Borussia Dortmund are a footballing institution, not only responsible for providing Liverpool FC with a manager who can move mountains! But numerous examples of players that have been reunited with their former employer. Mario Gotze & Mats Hummels being the most recent ‘returnees’ who have been welcomed back with open arms. I don’t think there could be any greater compliment to an organization than a former employee viewing the chance to a return as an opportunity and not a backward step.

I had a drink with Rob Lyster a couple of Months ago and was really encouraged by his attitude to returning consultants, completely opposite to the Mr. Burns ethos which some have experienced in the market. It wasn’t just mums returning from Mat leave but consultants who have experienced the grass on the other side of the fence and jumped back over. There are no hard feelings, perhaps a little bit of banter but it’s understandable that consultants have curiosity in their DNA. Their inquisitive nature is not just what makes them better consultants, it’s what causes them to peek over the fence. Portraying a consultant’s potential next opportunity as a HUGE mistake that they will rue is disingenuous and condescending to the consultant’s decision-making process whereas wishing them the best of luck and ensuring them that the door will always be open is a much better look.

From the consultant’s perspective, the manner in which they leave is important but that’s a blog for another time. Feel free to let me know your thoughts on exit strategies or if you think Liverpool FC should take Coutinho back, I think yes 😊

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