When Leaving Your Job, How to Take Your Colleagues With You
CASE HISTORY: Martina's skills, education, experience and personality all combined to elevate Martina into an enviable position. A naturally outgoing personality, an MBA in Marketing, and a background in biology together formed a rock solid platform for her role as Chief Innovation Officer at a growing biotechnology firm. For Martina, her job was fun, fulfilling and full of future growth potential.
As Chief Innovation Officer, it was Martina's job to help her company's employees (a) identify, (b) assess, and (c) if of sufficient value, patent innovative improvements they had come up with - or even stumbled upon - in the course of their daily work. What seemed to researchers, investigators and technicians as simple improvements that helped them do their daily work with less effort, less time and improved effectiveness, often turned out to be highly valuable - and patentable - innovations.
If an employee brought to Martina's attention an innovative improvement that resulted in the issuance of a patent, that employee was eligible for a bonus that might range from $1,000 to $25,000, depending on the patent's apparent value. Martina's job was to create a "culture of innovation," to the benefit of all, which she did with passion and success. During her six years with the company, her department had collected over $11 million in patent licensing and royalty payments from the innovations her team had identified and brought to fruition. In that same time period employees were awarded over $335,000 in rewards for helping do so.
Martina was her department's first employee. From her first day on the job onward, Martina devoted considerable time and effort to putting together a team of six first-rate professionals who worked together like a well-oiled machine. She depended on each of her team members, and they depended on her, in an interdependent, highly productive way.
However, one aspect of Martina's personality did not fit well with her otherwise dream job: an entrepreneurial spirit. For many years she had dreamed of owning her own company. She wondered if she could do what she now did, but as an independent consultant working for many different companies to help each one of them create a "culture of innovation." To do that she would need to do one thing: either build a new team, or bring with her the team of six people she had developed while working for the biotechnology firm. With this in mind, Martina consulted us on how to do the latter, that is, bring her team with her, and what problems she faced in doing so.
With our guidance, significant forethought, and careful planning, Martina opened her own company, and managed to take with her five of her six team members. Today she's sitting on top of the world.
LESSON TO LEARN: Valuable employees are the number one asset of any company. Identifying them, hiring them, training them, motivating them and retaining them are the most important challenges facing employers. In making a move from one employer to another, or in starting a new venture, taking your most valuable colleagues with you might well determine your ultimate success.
Taking your colleagues with you to a new job or a new business venture can be a difficult and tricky task. Companies go to great lengths to prevent the loss of their valuable employees. The law, itself, sets up certain roadblocks to taking colleagues with you. There are, though, certain things to keep in mind, certain steps to consider, and certain precautions to take, to help you take your colleagues with you, with reduced risks and with greater chances of success.
As you would do with any important goal, make a plan that you believe will most likely lead you to that goal, and that takes into account important considerations to lead you along the right "path" to that goal.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: There are twelve steps you can take to increase your chances of successfully taking your colleagues with you when transitioning out of employment. These twelve steps will more likely lead you to a successful transition accompanied by colleag