By Francis Wade
Monday, May 28, 2012.
In today's world of Jamaican business, most firms do little or nothing when it comes to taking advantage of the opportunities that are associated with a relocating employee.
A farewell lunch and well-wishes typically spell the end of the story as few make a serious attempt to benefit from these departures.
A staff member's migration is viewed as a loss for the company and a gain for the individual. Often, colleagues treat the soon-to-be-former-employee like a lottery winner.
Instead of focusing exclusively on the sad feelings of separation, Jamaican executives need to adopt some of the best practices which are now commonplace on the worldwide business stage.
Companies must make an effort to maintain connections with professionals who are moving from Jamaica to a different region of the world.
A continuing relationship is often very beneficial for the individual and the company alike.
Right tactics for the job
Here are a few actions that businesses may wish to consider when a staff member announces a move to a different part of the world.
The first tactic: prepare for the loss of all staff, long before they migrate or quit. The approach is simple: break down the job into a system of processes, skills, and capabilities associated with the position and document these points so the information can be used to train a new employee. This involves much more than photocopying a job description.
There must be complete and thorough documentation of the processes that the individual uses to complete his/her daily tasks, along with shortcuts, tips, and key contacts.
With this valuable asset, businesses can rest easy knowing that they have taken measures to ensure a smooth transition and the continuity that is required to stay afloat.
This transition can be even smoother if an employee is asked to maintain a continuing role during the transition period, perhaps on a part-time basis. This can be done from anywhere in the world, especially if the employee is keen to maintain the connection, while also earning some extra income.
The second tactic involves using social networking technology.
Up until recently, the word 'migration' was synonymous with 'disappearance'. When a professional left Jamaica, he or she was lost to the country, the profession, and the company. Once an individual left the country, future contact was typically accidental - comprising of a run-in at the plazas during Christmas, or a random encounter on an overseas flight.
Today, communication knows no boundaries. Distance is no longer an obstacle, a fact that can be confirmed by anyone who uses sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook.
These social networks have revived connections that were long abandoned, and professionals who utilise these communication tools often turn into master networkers. Those who ignore social networking websites will quickly find that they have been left behind as they fail to maintain potentially valuable contacts.
Companies are no different. Anyone who has ever worked for your firm can be viewed as an important asset, and when they migrate, they can become more than just a statistic in the turnover metric. Instead, they can become an important contact who - with the assistance of social networking technology - can fulfil some of the following roles:
1. A source of new ideas - It is not difficult to predict the futuretrends that will arise in many Jamaican industries. Simply visit North America and observe what is happening there. This can be a very effective way to predict the business trends that will occur in Jamaica in the coming weeks, months, and years. An ex- employee can become a valuable "ambassador" who will keep your company informed on the latest and greatest trends.
2. A possible returnee - If there is even a slim chance that the individual may return to Jamaica in the future, maintaining a relationship may encourage him or her to return to your business with more experience and new, more developed skill sets.
3. A more productive worker - The cause of higher productivity in foreign companies is a mystery to many local managers. Maintaining connections with former employees is a strategy that can serve to expose companies to higher standards of performance and accountability.
4. A business liaison - An ex-employee can open doors, providing your firm with access to new markets, opportunities, and alliances with other businesses, organisations, and professionals.
Global firms like McKinsey & Company encourage ex-employees to play these roles and others. Many major players on the world stage have even gone as far as to establish formal alumni groups with their own communication channels, special gatherings, and unique perks. It is their way of building a powerful global network that serves to strengthen the firm and expand its capabilities.
Francis Wade is a management consultant and the president of Framework Consulting. He is based in Kingston, Jamaica and blogs at http://www.2time-sys.com/. Wade can be reached at email@example.com