The power of saying goodbye to your talent

Sometimes, people leave your organization. How do you respond? Are you happy for them? Or disappointed? How you respond makes all the difference for your success in talent management.

talent management
Don’t listen to Leo!

A nasty surprise

We’ve all been through it. You managed to assemble a great team, have exciting projects lined up and everybody’s ready to perform. This is the moment to reap the rewards. At that moment, one of your most talented people asks whether you have a minute. ‘I accepted another job offer,’ he says. Ouch. He was the one you had great plans for. The one who could outshine all your other team members.

How do you respond? Are you angry? Frustrated? Or are you happy for them?

Positive talent management

At TOPdesk, we’re happy for that person. Sincerely happy. Your employee’s probably leaving because he’s making a step in his career that’s important to him. He’s seizing an opportunity, one you would probably seize as well, if you were in his shoes.

You have every reason to be happy for your employee. This way, you make him feel you support him in this important decision. This will have a positive effect on how he will fulfill the last weeks with you. And since your employee leaves with a positive feeling, he will be more likely to recommend your organization, whether as an employer or supplier, to someone else.

In addition, your other team members will notice you respond positive and mature to your employee’s decision to leave and will appreciate you more for it. If one your team member ever consider switching jobs, it’s more likely they will discuss this openly with.

A blow for your organization?

Of course, in the short term your employee leaving is highly inconvenient. Your team will have to do a bit more work, and will have to postpone or cancel some plans you made. Which sucks. But in the long run, it’s not so bad that top employees leave every now and then. At least, it’s proof that you know how to recognize, recruit and develop talent. You’ve helped your talented employee flourish, advance his career and move on to the next challenge at another organization. That’s something to be proud of.

In the meantime, you managed to recruit other talented people. Who are still in your team. Sure, they may be less experienced that your employee who just left. But you know they’re good. And some of those will be ready to take on responsibilities that your now ex-employee had. They will learn, they will become better at their work or move on to a new role. And they will be happy for the opportunity you gave them to do so. Since your company keeps evolving too, your team members will have more room to grow than your previous employee had. That way, your organization pushes the growth of your talent – and the other way around.

Stagnant waters

There’s another thought I would like to share with you. Your employee who left, you probably liked him because he was always searching for new opportunities. Because he’s ambitious, restless, never satisfied with the status quo.

Do you work for an organization where no one ever leaves? Then there are two possibilities. You either work for the greatest organization on earth, and there’s nowhere else to go from there. If so: congratulations, well done. If that’s not the case, here’s a wake-up call.

If no one ever leaves your organization, it’s very likely you’ve employed people are really not that good. People who’re content to come to the office every day, perform reasonably well and get paid to do so. People who don’t live up to their potential. People who don’t really like the work they do, or deep down know they’re not very good at it.

What do you prefer? An organization where every now and then talented employees leave, creating room for other employees to grow and push the organization further? Or an organization where everyone stays glued to their office chairs without really excelling. Ask yourself this question the next time a talented employee comes to your desk and asks a minute of your time.

Hiring personality beats hiring skills

Hiring personality beats skills

Building a successful organisation

Hiring the right people is essential for creating a successful organization. But how do you hire the right people? I won’t go into the details of how you should write vacancies or what to ask a candidate during a job interview right now, but I do want to share my view on what you should look for when hiring the best people for your organization.

Hire the right person!

It’s as easy as that. You should hire the right person for the job. But what makes a person right for the job? Traditionally we are instructed to scan resumes and analyze the education and work experience of a person to judge whether he or she fits the job. This is not wrong; education and experience can certainly help a person to perform in a job. This is especially true for jobs which require a high level of craftsmanship. But just focusing on education and experience might cause you to make a big (and sometimes expensive) mistake.

The most important thing you should look into is the personality of the candidate, not the skills. If I have the choice between a straight-A student who is arrogant and more interested in making things better for himself instead of the team or someone who scored average in university but has the personality to not only improve himself but also the ones around him/her, I would choose the latter any day. The skills required in most office jobs nowadays can easily be learned (if you have the right attitude and mindset). However, it is really hard to change someone’s personality.

Personality beats Skills

At TOPdesk, we take pride in our company culture which is based on trust, freedom and responsibility. It only takes a few people who do not understand or endorse these values to break it. And when it gets broken, it’s not just the person you hired that suffers. It can be a negative influence on an entire team or department. This will soon outweigh any benefits the skills or experience the new hire has brought into the company. This can be difficult to explain, especially when a manager experiences stress related to understaffing and request a new person which already has the skills required in order to speed up the process. You should still try to convince the manager in question that hiring the right personality (even if he or she lacks the proven experience) will be better in the long run.

In the end, hiring the right personlity with the right skills and experience is best. But in the unfortunate occasion where such a perfect candidate is not at hand, you know who to choose.


Do you like this blog, but need more proof to be convinced? While researching this topic I found a random guy involved in music, airplanes and balloons who seems to agree with me 😉 Richard Branson on hiring personality