It’s been a while, I know… much longer than I would have liked. I have had some life changes lately that I’ll share in a later post. 😉
Anyways, I wanted to address something I have not only heard of but experienced first hand in Corporate America.
Flight Risk Analysis.
In layman’s terms, this is where the higher ups get to determine the likelihood of you leaving the company. If you are a highly valued employee with high performance, and have been deemed high flight risk, then they will start working hard to keep you. This means that if you ask for something, say a promotion, a raise, flex time, you are more likely to get it because they do not want to lose you. However, if you are a low flight risk then…sigh, well…you get the point.
Up until recently, I had never been privy to those discussions behind closed doors. A few weeks ago, I basically got the 411 on what had been said in these meetings and was extremely disappointed.
“She is a middle-aged, single mom with 3 kids. Where is she going to go?”
“You know, he’s pretty tight lipped, but he did mention that the medical bills have piled up since his wife’s treatments.”
“Well, we just relocated him from Des Moines so he still owes us relo. He’d have to pay us 50K if he left anyways.”
“We are in the middle of her green card filing so she can’t leave for another 3 or so years either way.”
This is how they basically decided whether these employees were worth investing in or not! Regardless of their actual value or contribution to the company. And here I was thinking it had only to do with effort and those many hours spent working late to deliver.
It didn’t matter that I was overdue for the promotion. In that moment, the only thing that mattered to them was whether I could leave or not! Which is why I had to show them. Hehe! More to come.
Here are a few tips I have picked up that may help…
Be careful what details you share and whom you share them with. I am pretty sure I have said it before but it bears repeating. It may seem like you are just making conversation, or being more sociable, or trying to fit in. But every little detail goes in a little file, a mental one, if not an actual physical file. When the time is ripe, that information will either help or hurt you. Be alert and share only the things that will help. So perhaps they don’t need to know how much debt you have, or what illnesses your loved ones may be battling, or even an expensive vacation you took. Always have your wits about you and avoid what is known as Word Vomit.
I recall though a coworker I had who went out of her way to let us know that she didn’t need the job. At every opportunity, she would mention her husband was a Stanford-educated doctor with his own practice. She would let us know that she was working because she was passionate and enjoyed it. This seemed to work for her and she often got whatever she asked for.
Like I said, know what helps and what hurts.
Know who to trust. I’m not saying that you should be a complete recluse at work. But know when the friendships you have built are genuine and when they are not. If they are not, then be polite. Cordial. But don’t over share.
Also, having a good network will help you know what is being said in those meetings.
Make plans. Don’t be naive in thinking you are not being categorized into high or low flight risk. Just be self aware enough to know where they think you fall. If low, then make plans to change something. Don’t just wallow in it. Look for another opportunity. Change your circumstance.
I know someone who, though miserable at work, refuses to look for another job because she would owe tuition reimbursement money to the company. So it has gone from a regular job to indentured servitude. This is a huge mistake. My advice? Please look for another job. There are companies that value you enough to pay your tuition back. You can negotiate your compensation to include a sign on bonus to cover the cost. This is not unheard of. It happens every day. Be creative!
Don’t let them mess with your self confidence…thereby keeping you from making plans. I had another coworker and friend of Chinese descent who came to the US 3 years ago. He had never spoken English growing up, although he could read it very well. He struggled to assimilate and during presentations, he would be asked not to speak because “no one could understand him.” The crazy thing is that although his spoken English is infinitely better, his confidence has been hurt. He is deemed low flight risk and so they have stopped investing in him even though this guy is a wicked smart, Chemical Engineering wizard! As low flight risk, they have taken work from the high flight risk folks and dumped it on him. He won’t look for another job because as he told me (in perfect English, I might add), “I don’t think I would do well in an interview. My English isn’t very good”.
Continue to deliver and earn your paycheck. Obviously. Because trust me, even if you are a high flight risk but a low performer, you will be shown the door. Don’t relent in your work ethic. Don’t be pushed out before your plans hatch.