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Note: originally published on Fastcompany.com

Of course you want to keep your best employees, but the truth is most of your employees–even the happy ones–are looking for another job.

According to a recent study conducted by Deloitte leaders rate engagement and retention as a top 2014 priority. And yet, lumping engagement and retention into one bucket is misleading–at least that’s what 7,350 LinkedIn members across five countries said in an exit survey.

The survey reported that 85% of the workforce is either actively looking for a job or open to talking to recruiters about relevant opportunities–even those who report being satisfied with their current jobs.

Employees contemplate daily whether to re-up with their current employer or entertain the prospect of landing a better gig.

Given this, the real question is not how to engage your employees so they don’t leave–there is a good chance they will. The real opportunity is how you treat them when they do.

An employee’s final days could be one of the most underutilized engagement levers at your disposal. At least that is what the research of Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman would suggest.

According to his Peak-End rule, people will judge their overall experience by its peak, or most intense point, and by its end. When we file the experience into our memory, we don’t do simple arithmetic to average our moment-to-moment experiences. The brain overwrites this logic in favor of a more simplified strategy: it plucks two moments from the past–the most poignant and the finale–to decide how it wants to store the memory away.

So, what are you doing to off-board employees for a memorable end? If you want to reinvigorate and reimagine your employee engagement approach, consider your off-boarding strategy. Below are three implementation tips to consider:


Daniel Gilbert, Harvard University psychology professor, found that we overestimate the impact of our emotional reactions to future events. In other words, the brain is wired to believe that the shining new job opportunity in front of us will make life much more perfect. But it will almost certainly be less exciting than we anticipated; and, it will likely fail to excite us for as long as predicted.

LinkedIn surveyed 18,000 workers in 26 countries and found that the number one reason non-active job seekers said they would be willing to head for the exit was for better compensation or benefits. If there is one thing we assess to be a surefire way to make us happier in the future, money would fallaciously reside at the top of the list.

And yet, knowing this does us no good. So, rather than try to outsmart the hard-wired habits of the human mind, why not let the star employee go? If you know the inevitable realities of inflated expectations, you also know that your time and energy are best spent letting time lapse before you try to lure him or her back.


Ensuring a good ending doesn’t just elicit feel good memories–it also brings purpose and meaning to employees. Dan Ariely has researched meaning at work extensively, and as he shares in this TED Talk, there is nothing that kills meaning more than failing to acknowledge one’s work. According to Ariely, “Ignoring the performance of people is almost as bad as shredding their effort before their eyes.”

Harvard Business School Professor Theresa Amabile conducted decade-long research that found the same effect, known as the Progress Principle. She found a pervasive engagement blind spot: making progress on meaningful work trumps all other engagement drivers.

So, if you want an employee to walk out of the door engaged, what better way than to celebrate the progress they made in their tenure? It’s never too late–nor can you ever do too much–to make somebody feel like their work matters.


It is a well-retorted adage in organizations: what gets managed gets measured. An engagement strategy must realize that jobs are more fluid than ever before and so are their incumbents. While many companies have internal mobility programs, the LinkedIn study found that only 25% of departing employees said they knew of them.

Even for those who do, timing is a challenge. Employees have little patience when it comes to accelerating their growth, learning, and opportunity. And yet, just like finding your ideal mate, timing needs to be right for both parties. Organizations can’t always deliver on the same time horizon that employees desire, and vice versa.

While engaged employees may not stay, if you manage the relationship correctly, there is a good chance they will stay open to coming back. Which means your new retention measure must do more than capture voluntary turnover. It must also capture the number of boomerangs you capture.

It is true, you can only make one first impression. But it turns out the last is the one that really matters.

“8Ps” of StrategyOpportunity
for Disruption
Recommended Leverage Points
Position- The farmers, individual and corporate, that you are targeting.

- The need of the agricultural industry that you seek to fill.
3- What technologies do you control that can help you tap into market
segments that you previously thought unreachable?

- What are the potential business alliances you could think about with key players in the segment to serve your customers with integrated solutions? (Serving customers with more integrated solutions example: serving farmers with fertilizers, crop protection and other).
Product- The products you offer, and the characteristics that affect their value to customers.

- The technology you develop for producing those products.
8- What moves are your organization taking to implement Big Data and analytics to your operations? What IoT and blockchain applications can you use?

- What tools and technology could you utilize or develop to improve food quality, traceability, and

- How can you develop a more sustainable production model to accommodate constraints on arable

- What is the future business model needed to serve new differentiated products to your customers?
Promotion- How you connect with farmers and consumers across a variety of locations and industries.
- How to make consumers, producers, and other stakeholders aware of your products and services.
8- How are you connecting your product with individual and corporate farms who could utilize it?
- How could you anticipate market and customer needs to make customers interested in accessing your differentiated products?
PriceHow consumers and other members of the agricultural supply chain pay for access to agricultural products.7- What elements of value comprise your pricing? How do each of those elements satisfy the varying needs of your customers?
Placement- How food products reach consumers. How the technologies, data, and services reach stakeholders in the supply chain.9- What new paths might exist for helping consumers access the food they desire?
- How are you adapting your operations and supply chain to accommodate consumers’ desire for proximity to the food they eat?
- How could you anticipate customer expectation to make products more
accessible to customers/agile supply chain?
- Have you considered urbanization as a part of your growth strategy?
- How your food satisfies the needs and desires of your customer.
- How the services you provide to agribusiness fulfill their needs.
9- Where does your food rate on a taste, appearance, and freshness
- Could the services you provide to companies and farms in the agriculture industry be expanded to meet more needs?
- What senses does your food affect besides hunger? How does your
customer extract value from your food in addition to consumption?
Processes- Guiding your food production operations in a manner cognizant of social pressure.8- How can you manage the supply chain differently to improve traceability and reduce waste?
- How can you innovate systems in production, processing, storing, shipping, retailing, etc.?
- What are new capabilities to increase sustainability (impact on the environment, or ESG) components?
People- The choices you make regarding hiring, organizing, and incentivizing your people and your culture.- How are you leveraging the agricultural experience of your staff bottom-up to achieve your vision?
- How do you anticipate new organizational capabilities needed to perform your future strategy (innovation, exponential technologies needed, agile customer relationship, innovative supply chain)?
- How do you manage your talents to assure suitable development with exposure in the agrifood main challenges/allowing a more sustainable view of the opportunities/cross-sectors?