When quitting doesn’t have to be a bad breakup

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You always think it’s going to be easy to leave a job, but in this case it’s not. This is my last day as editor-in-chief of Employee Benefit News, and for me it’s bittersweet. In my nearly four years with SourceMedia, I have written and edited great content, helped grow our audience, covered the industry’s transformation, collaborated with some terrific colleagues and won several journalism awards. As I depart for a new opportunity, I’ve had time to reflect on my tenure. Here are the biggest lessons I’m taking away:

Working remotely isn’t a bad thing. I’m a remote worker, and I can personally dispel preconceptions you might have about us — except for the sweatpants; that much is often true. I’ve been a remote worker from my start at SourceMedia, and I wasn’t sure how I would handle it. Would I get as much work done from my home in suburban Denver as I would in a company office? Would I form productive relationships with co-workers? Would I feel insecure about not being in the same building where many of my colleagues work and where big company decisions are made?

The answers to those questions were: a resounding yes; absolutely; and sometimes. Though it has its own challenges, remote work has become much more prevalent for a reason. Savvy employers embrace it and make sure they’re properly nurturing relationships with those workers as they do with employees more visible on a daily basis.

Healthcare innovation is desperately needed. I’ve been covering benefits for the better part of a decade, and I’ve seen everything from the passage of the Affordable Care Act to the continuous rise of healthcare costs and wide fluctuation in the percentage of employers that offer health insurance.

But some of the most significant changes I’ve seen have been from employers trying to make a difference for their employees. From onsite clinics to tech solutions to taking insurers out of the equation and directly contracting with health systems, employer intervention is one of the most exciting and promising developments that could help improve employee care.

See also: How 60 of the nation’s biggest employers are uniting to fight the benefits status quo

What's at the heart of a job. My time at SourceMedia has reinforced my belief that benefits are at the heart of a job, and are often the reason employees love or loathe their workplace. Beyond table stakes — such as healthcare, retirement plans and voluntary benefits (disability, dental and vision) to newer ones like student debt repayment and generous parental leave — let’s not forget that benefits go deeper. Workplace culture, good bosses and important mentors are vital to making sure employees are achieving a good work-life balance. These are all part of the mix that make the right job feel like home.

See also: How healthcare innovation helped save my life

Quitting doesn’t have to be like a bad breakup. In all the talk about the employee lifecycle, most attention is given to the recruitment stage, the onboarding stage and sometimes the retention stage. There’s not enough attention given to the leaving stage. How do you talk to employees leaving for a new opportunity? How do you treat them? And vice versa.

Like a college alumni network, why can’t employees have a way to stay in contact and network even after they leave a workplace? When you like your job, as I do, it can be tough to embrace a new opportunity, no matter how good it is. But resigning doesn’t have to be one big, bad breakup — it’s often about taking a chance to try to develop personally and professionally. Leaving on good terms means leaving doors — and relationships — open. Who knows what will happen down the road?

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Employee engagement Employee turnover Employee retention Employee relations Employee terminations Employee communications Workplace culture Workforce management