next best employee

Your next best employee is likely your current employee, said Ryan Roslansky, the CEO of LinkedIn recently. Furthermore, he said that if you focus on building skills and insights into the skills of your current employees, there is a great chance to help your top talent find other roles within your company, instead of leaving. According to LinkedIn data, an employee who has moved internally has a 75% chance of staying after two years, compared to the paltry 56% for an employee who has not experienced internal mobility.

The key concept here is an insight into skills, both hard – and soft skills. These “people analytics” building blocks are often lacking today, but fortunately, they exist and can be practically applied and leveraged.

half gone

Nearly 48% of white-collar workers in Belgium are open to a new job within the next six months, a reflection of the growing dissatisfaction with their current job and its related responsibilities. This lack of engagement and commitment to their current job can have a detrimental effect on productivity, as many employees may be subconsciously scaling back on their responsibilities or even mentally dropping out.

This readiness on the part of employees to move on can be a major concern for employers, as it not only means reduced productivity but also creates uncertainty, as it can be hard to tell which employees are interested in leaving and which aren’t. Having nearly half of your employees wanting to leave is serious, without question.

Not knowing which half is even more dramatic.

unexpressed lingering

Unexpressed negative emotions don’t die… Ever. Instead, they fester.

In a professional relationship between an employer and an employee, frustrations are usually expressed when it’s too late. An exit-interview is interesting, but then, the damage has been done. The insights unearthed during such interviews can be leveraged for other employees, but the actual employee who voiced the issues has passed the point of no return.

Exit-interviews are good, stay-interviews are better. Negative emotions should be intercepted quickly, so they can be expressed, preventing a nasty festering wound from manifesting itself. Consider implementing frequent and recurring stay-interviews.

logic shift

Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson once went on a camping trip. After dinner with a bottle of wine, they call it a night. A little later, Holmes wakes up and immediately wakes up his trusted friend.

“Watson, look at the sky. What do you see?”

“I see millions of stars, Holmes,” Watson replied.

“So what do deduce from that?”

“Well, astronomically, we can deduce that there are millions of galaxies and planets. Astrologically, I see that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically it tells me that the time is about a quarter past three. Meteorologically we will have a nice day tomorrow. Theologically, I see that God is mighty and that we are a little and inconsequential part of the universe. What do you see, Holmes?”

Holmes remains silent for a moment. “Watson; this is one of those important moments where we must apply logic. Don’t you see? Someone has stolen our tent!”

We could write books, jampacked with theory around the difficulties in recruiting human resources. Until we deduce that candidates hired leave within the first year. Hiring talent through the front door while the back door remains open isn’t sustainable.

Sometimes we must apply logic and shift perspective.
Retaining talent isn’t enough. Talent remaining onboard against their better judgment isn’t beneficial to either the talent or the employer.
Retention, built on top of engagement, that’s where it’s at.

white raven

That one employee that, when he/she/x leaves causes the company to collapse. These so-called white ravens, black swans, or purple squirrels aren’t only a dream to work with; they’ve gathered so much knowledge and expertise in your company that they can’t be missed.

HR departments often (try to) anticipate a catastrophe such as the departure of white ravens by trying to hire exactly the same kind of profiles. Now, signing the first white raven probably involved moving heaven and earth. Let alone finding another one. Moreover, keeping them.

The classic approach to starting from function profiles is rather rigid and tough to scale. Starting from, which hard-skills and soft-skills are required for a job on the other hand, is a leap many HR departments and their companies have to take. When it turns out that these white ravens combine multiple jobs or function profiles within one job, and thus can’t be replaced by one other person, that’s where the biggest challenges are.

why quit

4 reasons why software engineers leave their job.

Mismatch in expectations

Wait a minute, this is not what I’ve been sold. Often, the way the job has been offered initially doesn’t align with what it feels like to actually perform in the role, every day.

Flawed remote work strategy

A remote work strategy shouldn’t revolve around the required amount of days employees must come to the office. It should be about the most efficient way to get synchronous work done. This depends heavily on how teams organize themselves, as opposed to an enforced, top-down approach.

Bigger picture

In many cases, software engineers don’t really feel what their efforts contribute to. For clients or internal projects, ideally, the impact that they helped realize, should be made as tangible as possible.

No recognition

Sleepless nights, plagued by that one stubborn bug that just won’t go away. An architectural innovation that dramatically reduces cost structure or doubles performance… So many efforts go by unnoticed. Without empathic leadership, the proverbial pat on the back, it’s hard to keep pushing code daily.

it’s not salary

How to make sure employees stay? Spoiler alert; it’s not salary.

Jack Parsons once said: “the employee who leaves a company because of the salary can return because of the culture, but the one who leaves because of the culture will never return because of the salary”.

Excellent job culture and company culture aren’t just valuable for current employees, it’s a powerful magnet to attract new candidates, as well as re-attract ex-employees.

Building a company culture, bottom-up, starts with job culture. One employee after the other. Making sure the match is right, both on a hard-skills – and soft-skills level creates an upward spiral that serves as a coil for the above-mentioned magnet.


Everyone is necessarily the hero of his own story. This powerful quote by Franz Kafka potentially reveals a lot about us humans.

I believe that many of us are necessarily the hero(in) of our own job.

When employers, specifically managers and leaders, fail to recognize, respect, and empathize with their hero(in) employees, expecting them to be involved and engaged is unrealistic.

kings of companies

In the land (and era) characterized by labor market shortage, the company that retains and engages their talent the best, will prevail.

The original quote — in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king — is credited to Desiderius Erasmus’s Adagia around the year 1500. Half a millennium later, the principle remains underrated.

While all your competitors focus on the ultra-short-term, hiring whoever applies, the companies who have a long-term strategy, will reign supreme. Those companies take bi-directional professional expectations into account to build a career perspective.

All hail to the kings of companies.

the great stay

Some parts of the world currently have so-called great HR problems. The great resignation. The great reset. The great reshuffle. Just to name a few great issues or opportunities, depending on how you look at them.

Even though we live in a globalized world, extrapolating trends from one continent to another isn’t always as straightforward as it may seem. Minor, nuanced differences make for an entirely different job culture altogether.

In Belgium, only 8,1% of people changed jobs in 2021, according to Securex.

If there is a problem, let alone a great one, it would be “the great stay.”

With so few people changing jobs, there are a couple of things we can do.

Incentivize them to switch jobs more (often). 

On the other hand, we could make the great stay, an actual great stay. By maximizing employees’ potential, engagement, and productivity.

Companies should choose the latter, in any case.