Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Jeff Taylor on Attrition

I attended a networking event today that included a Q&A session with Monster founder Jeff Taylor. His newest project is the social networking site Eons for people 50 and over. It is like MySpace for people wise enough to use it productively. Taylor says you can sneak in at 49, but he is still too young to be a member.

Taylor shows a real passion and understanding for this underrepresented Internet demographic. "Retirement is a graduation," he says; not the end of a career, but the beginning of a life the retiree has been working toward for years. Taylor hopes to brand Eons as an exclusive club for those who are closing in on the career graduation rewards.

Taylor, who describes himself as undiagnosed with ADD, engrossed us with story after story from his career. The questions served as mere launching points for a series of fascinating glimpses into the philosophy of this entrepreneur. I'll be sharing more leadership take-aways in future posts.

Taylor started off talking about attrition. He said, "If I know you, I can keep you," adding that he was frustrated after Monster grew larger than 500 people because he didn't know everybody's name anymore. After hearing him speak, I don't believe he was exaggerating. His leadership lesson is that retaining employees depends on you knowing enough about them that you can relate to them as people rather than employees.

He told us a story about Eons employees celebrating the company's first anniversary by jumping into the ocean near their office in the Charlestown Navy Yard. "You have to jump in with your employees," Taylor said of both the celebratory swim and of daily work life. And I believe that he swims in the deep end every day with his team.

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