Take My Employees, Please

Jolt CEO and co-founder Roei Deutsch doesn’t necessarily want his talented young employees to stay.

Deutsch, who heads the San Francisco-based career development start-up, started experimenting with “charterships” about a year ago; an arrangement in which workers would leave the job they were hired for after two years. At that time, they would either find a new internal role that would get them closer to their ultimate career destination or they would leave to pursue that dream elsewhere.

Earlier this year, Business Insider’s Matt Weinberger explained the key tenets of the chartership concept:

“After two years, your job is done, no matter what,” Weinberger wrote. “At that point, you can either leave the company with no hard feelings or find a new two-year ‘mission’ at the company.”

An employee’s exit “doesn’t mean I’m firing you,” Deutsch told Business Insider at the time. “It means, ‘Let’s find something new for you to do.’ ”

Jolt also goes against the start-up grain by not offering an overabundance of perks, and Deutsch “cops to the fact that he’s paying employees below market rate,” according to Weinberger.

The idea, he wrote, is to instead reinvest that money into what Deutsch calls “employee success,” meaning that new hires “come in with a list of things that [they] want to learn,” and Jolt devotes resources to helping them reach their professional goals, and assigns them a manager to co-pilot the journey, wherever it takes them.

Business Insider recently followed up with Deutsch to see how this experiment is playing out.

So far, things haven’t gone exactly according to plan.

Part of the problem, he says, is that some millennial workers aren’t sure where they want their professional path to lead them.

“People have no idea what they want to do next,” says Deutsch. “Therefore, it’s hard for them to prepare for it.”

He’s staying the course, however, and Jolt’s embrace of charterships hasn’t seemed to affect its ability to attract talent. In fact, the company has added five new employees since February of this year.

Instead of abandoning the chartership philosophy, Deutsch and the organization are making some tweaks to it.

“Originally, Jolt’s managers were responsible for making sure that the workers who reported to them were sticking to their career development plans,” according to Business Insider. “But the company came to believe that arrangement was unsustainable. The company was essentially asking managers to prepare employees to leave the company for their next jobs at the same time it was requiring them to get the employees to do their current work.”

That approach included a “built-in conflict of interest,” Deutsch told the news website, “that makes helping your employees prepare for their next chapter harder.”

So, in addition to giving employees more time to create their personal development plans—they now have a year, as opposed to the three weeks they were allotted when the experiment started—Jolt has also begun bringing in career coaches to meet with workers in confidential sessions every two weeks.

I don’t know if Business Insider plans to check in on Deutsch and his chartership program again, but it would be interesting to see where this first group of Gen Y workers find themselves when their two years are up, and how much this experience helped them get there.

“Basically, a huge part of helping millennial employees,” he says, “is actually helping them figure out what they want to be.”

Jolt and Deutsch might be focusing on younger talent, but that seems like it would be true enough for companies looking to help develop employees of all ages.