It used to be the case that people used to work at a company for decades, some even retired at the same company they started working at. We’re no longer in that world. These days it’s rare to find someone who’s worked at a company for longer than 5 years.

There is a benefit to this rotation though: when people change jobs they also bring their ideas and experiences, mix them with those at their new company, and converge to better and better approaching. A great way to accelerate this is by reaching out to all of your coworkers a few months after they left and asking how they’re doing. It’s a great way to stay in touch and maintain that relationship but it’s also a good opportunity to compare and contrast how they do things. They would have left recently enough where they understand your processes and embedded enough in their new roles to know how things work there. Those differences give you a lot of valuable advice on what other companies are doing and whether there’s anything you should change on your end.

There is always something you can be doing better and former coworkers are great at identifying those areas. It’s surprising how rarely people reach out to their former coworkers but it’s one of the best ways to get concrete and relevant feedback. And this is a network that only gets larger the longer you work. Don’t squander it.


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