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Look into the Future, to Improve Your Workplace Now

Future employeeIf you employ and manage people for your company, here’s a simple suggestion that can have profound consequences. Try thinking of every person you hire and nurture at your company as being your "future former employee.”

Now that you’ve got that vision, ask yourself: When the future arrives, how do you want that now-former employee's memories to be, looking back at their years of working for you, the story they tell themselves of how they were hired, how they were employed, even how they separated or were separated from the company?

Now, extend that even more: What would your employees’ families and friends say about your company? Would they say you watched out for them, gave them opportunities to advance, involved them in designing their own work? That you actively supported them in their goals, even, for that matter, kept track of what those goals were in the first place?

Did you just just use them to fill a gap in your org chart or did you value their input and the judgment and humanity involved, in doing great work, no matter how modest the task in question? Did you exploit them (for example like those companies that have notoriously tried to hire only part-time workers, to avoid paying them benefits) or did you act more nobly?  My guess is that you'll feel better (in this visualization and in real life) knowing you'd acted more nobly.

These are heavy duty questions, but far from hypothetical. Most of us have former employees (through their choice, through our choice, and through the unfortunate vagaries of life in the world of corporate mergers and disintegration). And those of us who don’t yet, will in the future. Let’s use a vision of that future to create a better present.
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