A few weeks ago, I posted my thoughts on what are good reasons to change teams. In this article, I’m going to talk about why you as a manager should encourage your employees to move around.
And let’s ignore the case when you encourage an internal move because you just want to get rid of someone. Before you think that’s strange, well, I’ve seen it. Not only once.
So why you should let and even help your employees move around your company?
Keep your developers by letting them go
We all need new challenges from time to time. If we cannot get our dose of a new adventure in our teams, we’ll go away to another place to find it.
Losing developers is expensive. The more senior developer leaves, the more his/her replacement costs. As developers are not slaves and no company owns their workforce, this is an inevitable loss.
Probably one of the easiest ways to limit such a loss is by moving people around in the corporation.
Why is so?
Most of us are risk-averse human creatures. We are more afraid of risks than we are excited about new opportunities. If you combine this with the well-known saying according to which people don’t leave companies but managers, it’s evident that unless someone has a strong aversion against the company or unless someone is seriously underpaid, first they will around within the company before considering changing companies.
While each team is unique, there is a bond between them marked by the common tools, the company policies and culture. An outside hire will have to learn all that and might not be a good fit. An internal hire is aware of all those and will need much less time to fit in and the chance of a mismatch is limited. Therefore encouraging internal mobility is limiting turnover costs.
Move ideas around
The best thing in letting people join other teams is that you move ideas, you move best practices around.
People who are exposed to great ideas, good practices, like to follow them even once they are out of their teams.
And even though some people might be very shy or introverted, even most of the introverted will share what and why they do at a certain point. Not necessarily to preach, to convince, but just to share what and how they do. And as such, something you learned at one team will eventually reach other teams as well. Maybe not everyone will like it, maybe not everyone will follow it, but maybe you’ll change one or two people who will carry that practice on.
Maybe, you’ll be corrected because that best practice you followed is far from being the best.
Maybe you’ll find good parts in the practices you and your team follow and will come up with a better combination.
By moving people around you also encourage ideas moving around. When ideas move around and meet each other they result in even better novel ideas.
Build tighter bonds between teams
Keeping the developers in the company and letting them further grow is one thing. Encouraging the flow of ideas in between teams is another. There is something more.
Where teams work in silos, there is often a feeling of us versus them. In such an environment, when mistakes are being made, fingerpointing is guaranteed.
But when people move around and they form new connections. With the new connections, silos are broken down just like the defensive feeling of us vs them.
After all, these human connections can help you form better collaboration, a healthier environment. When problems arise - they will - instead of fingerpointing you’ll probably witness some compassion, but more importantly, people will have their natural channels to discuss what happened and what could be done to avoid similar issues next time.
Internal moves of employees in an organization is not only beneficial to the employees, but also for the employer. By letting and even encouraging your developers to move around you will improve the chances of having them around longer - thus lowering the attrition and the replacement costs.
Even better, people will bring their best practices to their new teams which will not just spread around, but also create even better ideas that will benefit the whole organization.
Last but not least, more human connections between teams lead to less fingerpointing and more collaboration. It’s the perfect tool to break down silos and a feeling of us vs them.
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