'Au Revoir' rather than 'Goodbye'

Jul 30, 2019

Train people well enough to leave…and then come back

This appears to be the new approach to talent retention and industry leader Louise Phelan seems to think so too. It’s a long-term talent retention strategy which is not to be ignore.

Listening to Louise Phelan on the radio this morning with Vincent Wall, she spent almost 30 years successfully growing teams in US Multinationals, she knows a thing or two about talent retention. Moving to her new role at Phelan Energy Group to work alongside her brother and their 52 nieces and nephews, part of her plan is to train them all for the next number of years, so they head off to pastures new for a while before coming back to the business for the long term.

In our recent Tipping Point survey of over 1400 responses, when we posed the question ‘Have you worked for a company previously that you would go back to?’ over 44% said yes. This was covered in our recent contribution to Chartered Accountants Ireland weekly ezine – Briefly.

Mind how they leave

In 2019, it’s more ‘au revoir’ rather than ‘goodbye’. Candidates are increasingly likely to consider going back to a former employer when they have gained more experience elsewhere – so companies should look at departing employees less as a ‘former staff member’ and more as a ‘likely future hire’. Stay in touch with former employees and think how valuable they could be with five more years’ experience under their belt when they’re ready to come back. 44% of those surveyed said they would go back to a company for whom they had previously worked. A company’s ‘alumni’ is an ideal pool from which to search for candidates. 

So as before, train employees well enough to leave and then come back. Keep in contact while they’re away. Spend some time (and maybe a little money) on engaging with previous employees. Host alumni nights, family days, festive drinks. Invite them all, it could be the cheapest drink you’ve bought all year!

The 2019 Tipping Point Survey consisted of 32 questions with 1,447. For more information, go to or contact Rachel Tubridy at

Listen back to the Newstalk Business Breakfast interview with Vincent Wall & Louise Phelan 30/07/2019– (minute 11.30)

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