Why Employees Who Leave Are Your Greatest Asset


CFO: what happens if we train them and they leave?

CEO: what happens if we don’t and they stay? 

-business adage

Developing a strategic training program is an investment that involves a tremendous amount of time and money–two things many companies don’t have, or, are unwilling to give up. However, implementing a systematic training program is key to retaining top talent.

In her book, The Boomerang Principle: Inspire Lifetime Loyalty from Your Employees, author (and Double Forte CEO) Lee Caraher breaks down generational definitions of work and viewpoints on loyalty and explains the need for companies to shift their expectations and policies in order to establish an efficient workplace. Caraher shares research that says 43 percent of millennials plan to leave their current jobs within two years, so it should come as no surprise that companies might contemplate whether or not to invest in training their employees properly. However, Caraher argues that companies should not worry about people leaving, rather they should worry about people staying.  Building an environment where people are happy to work, she posits, makes it difficult for them to leave and easy for them to return to.

The Boomerang Principle – the belief that organizations that allow and encourage former employees to return have a strategic advantage over those that don’t – has fueled Double Forte, since its inception in 2002. Over the past 17 years, the agency has witnessed boomerang employees of all types – people who return as employees, contractors, partners, or customers. I have only been with the company for about a month and I have already crossed paths with several boomerang employees– one of which Caraher mentioned several times in her book. Dan Stevens, a Double Forte co-founder, left the company, returned, and then left again– all in perfect standing. He still regularly visits the office and remains one of Lee’s confidants. 

Since being here, I have also had the pleasure of meeting Devin Cuevas, a social media and digital intern. He recently left the company to pursue his dream career in journalism, but I would not be surprised if he were to boomerang back, in one form or another. He, like Dan, also modeled the perfect exit– he informed the entire company of his next endeavor, provided everyone with his contact information, and even left personal notes on everyone’s desk, thanking them for the impact they had on his career.

I encourage you to read The Boomerang Principle to learn how to pave the path towards creating a positive workplace for today and for generations to come. My key takeaway: while you can’t control people leaving your company, you can control how you treat them. The best thing you can do is to maintain a positive attitude and work to ensure that former employees are life-long advocates for your organization. 

Written by Rebecca Zimmermann, Double Forte Intern