The HR discipline has become more refined. HRBPs. Chief "People" Officers, etc have replaced the archetypical paper pushers of legacy HR department. HRIS is a thing now. Wow.
The cutting edge of HR as a function is Retention. Employee Experience is big. Employer Brand is big. This is smart. Retain your employees. You'll build a better company, quicker.
One area though that is on the frontier and top of mind during the Covid Recession is Outplacement. Why isn't that a part of anyone's plan? Where is the Outplacement Career Councilor on mature HR teams? It's not there. Why?
I think intuitively hiring managers, executives and people in the people team fear departures. CPO's are goaled against "regrettable attrition". We don't want anyone to leave. We need to always keep our people...unless of course we need to downsize.
This is flawed. Reid Hoffman in "The Alliance" touches on this: We should look at each hire as a "tour of duty". It's a great sentiment, but what does that look like practically?
First: Career pathing is hard, especially in start ups. You hire great people. Not everyone can be promoted into management. Not every PM can be a home-grown internal transfer. There simply is not enough opportunity internally for all of your great people. Your employees know this. The people that miss their window to become the team manager recognize their options are limited. They are going to have to leave the organization to grow.
Make it easy for them. Talk openly about their career path: Not just inside the company (although, definitely do that) but also outside the company. What is their ideal next step? How can you help get them there?
You are a manager. This is not your last rodeo. Your career is long. Play the long game. Get your people where they are going.
Why? This will not just build your reputation as a career builder, but will also help anticipate departures and control them. It will allow for frank conversations. New blood is often good, as long as you control attrition.
Being a manager and a company that understands this is a differentiator. It's also a great muscle for when you inevitable change strategy or run low on runway and need to lay off a team.
I got the opportunity to support folks leaving Triplebyte by deputizing senior leaders that were part of the reduction as "outplacement agents". This team, consisted of Krista Lane, Eben Dower, and Kevin Landucci. They gave everyone the skills to navigate an uncertain job market, and most importantly got everyone opportunities after we announced our round of layoffs. Lay-offs often create a sense of loneliness and exile. You feel alone. This team helped keep people connected and supported.
They took what they learned and open sourced it. Check it out: Effective Immediately. Start there.
When you hire someone, it's a tacit exchange of time and expertise for money and fulfillment. Fulfillment doesn't start and stop at the threshold of the office. It's all around. It's the collective network of the firm. Codifying and resourcing your outplacement discipline will help attract talent, better manage human capital and improve employee happiness. McKinsey does it. So should you.
Can't wait until I finally see "Career Councilor" as an internal role at a mid to large stage startup. I think It will be in less than 3 years.