Then There Was None

One of the biggest problems of being a company in any type of business is recognizing talent and rewarding talent. A company that fails to recognize and reward talent will eventually see a talent exodus that will be problematic because it will help the competition.

When I have worked for third party administrators (TPA), I saw the talent exodus first hand of people who either started their own TPA or became heavyweights in the TPA business.

I am reminded by it first hand of my two-year sentence/tenure at the New York City based office of a semi-prestigious Long Island law firm. There were four of us in that office that were associates and I’m sure that the hopes of each of us would be to make partner there. While I had the pie in the sky idea of starting a national ERISA practice that people laughed at, the other associates were excellent attorneys that were very personable. One associate was probably the friendliest person I ever met, he had a background in fundraising and I’m sure he could have been a rainmaker there. We both wanted to use social media to bring in business and we were thwarted. Another associate was very politically involved and also personable. The last associate was hardworking and has the personality to be successful. These were the law firm’s best and brightest, the firm had a backbench of future partner all-stars.

When I left after 2 short years because I didn’t bring in the business I expected to, I expected one of the remaining 3would make partner. I was wrong, they all left. The fundraiser went back into fundraising and doing a heck of a job working for one of the most prestigious civil rights organizations and the politically connected superstar just got a prestigious job in the administration of one of the most powerful politicians in the United States. I guess waiting 8 ½ years to get called up to become partner was too long.

The problem with the firm is that they have a graying population of partners with very little superstars to carry that firm into the next generation. I’m afraid when some of the heavy hitters leave or retire, the farm system of younger partners and associates will be so barren that the firm will die.

Talented people who work for you also are smart. They will know when their work is or is not appreciated and whether there is a future for them. Passover is a wonderful Jewish holiday that celebrates freedom; the job experience of getting passed-over is not.

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