The myth of the portable employee

Bit of a follow up to my earlier post about bringing back “the Company Man” in the Times today. The article discusses “the myth of the completely portable employee,” arguing that though so-called knowledge workers’ “means of production is found between their ears,” they actually don’t continue at the same level of performance if they go to a new company because the institutional knowledge they had acquired must be rebuilt. When you change jobs, the article says, you lose your “spheres of influence,” that is, your knowledge of the people and processes at the old job.

“Companies consistently underestimate how long it takes new hires to be effective in a job, especially when it comes to building relationships.”

Though external hires “can bring fresh skills and ideas, along with a healthy skepticism about long-held practices,” employers should aim for “the right mix of old and new.”

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