HUMAN RESOURCES

Greener Grass

Why one company encourages its employees to seek other jobs and another allows them to return after starting elsewhere.
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Employees who leave for jobs elsewhere often discover the grass isn't greener after all, but they feel they can't return, so everyone loses. By keeping the door open, CEO Harry Seifert avoids losing good employees to bad decisions.

An informal policy at his company, refrigerated-foods manufacturer Winter Gardens Salad, of New Oxford, Pa., promises midlevel and top managers that, should they find themselves unhappy in a new job at another company, they may return within two weeks with no loss of position, pay, or benefits. Half a dozen employees have left and returned under the policy, and, Seifert says, none has looked around again.

Seifert has avoided committing his policy to paper so that he doesn't have to deal with the exceptions -- such as the employee whose departure is a blessing to the organization. But every worker understands the policy, he says.

Aztech Controls' Pat Frazier goes further, actively encouraging his employees to seek other opportunities. The CEO of the Mesa, Ariz., distributor of valves and fittings urges workers to write a new rÉsumÉ every year and offers them time off to interview with other companies. When employees know other companies want them, they're unafraid to take risks at Aztech. Moreover, Frazier says, he wants employees to know for a fact that the grass isn't greener elsewhere. It seems they've gotten the message: Frazier reports almost no turnover.

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Last updated: Sep 1, 1993




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