The curse of turnover deserves rethinking. More firms now see turnover as golden opportunities to create new connections with other resources and potential collaborators outside their walls.
Conventional wisdom might say that the recent departure of Marc Jacobs from Louis Vuitton is terrible news for the company. But if you look a little more closely at the fashion industry you’ll find that turning over your talent isn’t always a bad thing.
Prada is a case in point. Between 2000 and 2010 Prada lost a lot of designers to competing fashion houses, yet its fashion collections were consistently rated as much more creative than the average.
How does that happen? In a recent study (co-authored with Frederic Godart and Kim Claes) I found that when a designer leaves a fashion house to work for competition, he or she tends to stay in touch with friends and former colleagues from the old job. These ties act as communication bridges through which former colleagues can learn what the departed designer is up to in the new job. And when several designers leave to work for different fashion houses, the colleagues staying behind build bridges to lots of companies. This provides them with a lot of creative input for their future collections.