Once you’ve acknowledged the option to execute a change (the ‘if,’ ‘why,’ ‘how,’ and ‘when’ are up to you), the next step becomes an ultimate team assessment. Is this the work I seek to do? Are these the teammates with whom I’d like to partner? Does this organization align with my values?
It pays to acknowledge that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence. Many companies have ‘bridge’ policies that assume their talent may test the waters and ultimately regret their departure. The policy ensures that things like date-of-hire and vesting schedules maintain momentum should employees leave and return within a prescribed period (usually six months).
So, before you convert your soft search to a full out job hunt, brush up your resume and LinkedIn profile, and get clarity about your strengths and priorities. The networking that ensues should be strategically narrowed to only conversations that match up with your ideals and hit a culture bullseye. The stress of change is only worth it if it gets you closer to your professional vision.
Too many employees seek change for the sake of change without doing their homework. The result is usually a trade-in of one set of frustrating office politics for another. To avoid this pitfall, first ask yourself a few key questions:
- What is the most engaging and energizing aspect of my current role?
- Is there an opportunity to do that aspect of my job all the time?
- Does that opportunity already exist within my current organization, or do I need to look elsewhere?
- What would have to be true for me to choose to stay?
- If and when I choose to leave, am I fully prepared for the implications of a major transition?
If you are in a leadership position, understand that your employees are asking these questions and, more importantly, your competitors are more than happy to poach your talent. This is the prime time to do everything in your power to focus on retention. Luckily, the most effective strategy for retention is not complicated. If you invest in your people, the “Should I stay or should I go?” question will almost always gets answered with a whole-hearted “Stay!”