When a company is out recruiting, the HR is tasked with turning on the charm. Brochures with pictures of colourful ‘fun’ workplaces, happy smiling employees and lists of all kinds of best employer awards the company won, are handed out.
After all the wooing, the candidate decides to sign on, and out comes the ‘standard’ contract – you will not tell anybody about this offer, you will not leave us without a 1 month notice period, you will not work for competitors for several months after leaving, you will not do this, you will not do that, you dare not leave us once you sign on. While you do a double take at the contract, the recruiter smiles and adds “Oh, and did we tell you about the excellent employee engagement policies we follow, with total involvement from the senior leadership, no less – we have some really good consultants, who tell us what to do on engaging our workforce. Paintball wars in the parking lot every fourth Saturday and company picnics every quarter. It’s a riot!”
If you are sure you are a great organization to work for, you are sure you really do everything to engage with your employees, your projects are intellectually stimulating, your policies are realistic and employee friendly, the office culture is ROWE and not command-control, employee engagement is more than lip-service you do to win some award every year then dare to lower the drawbridge.
Do you dare to redraw your employee contract to let people leave when they wish, and join whichever organization they want to and do what they want to.
If you have a truly engaged workforce it doesn’t matter if the door is wide open. If not, filling the moat with legal crocodiles and pulling up the drawbridge won’t protect your crumbling castle – the good ones will leave – It’s just a matter of time.