The Passover Seder compels us to look both backwards and forwards simultaneously.
There are so many aspects that remind us to balance yesterday and tomorrow – the Ha Lachma Anya passage (“Let all who are Hungry come and eat”) recited early in the evening, the “Next year in Jerusalem” at the close. To be clear, “next year in Jerusalem” is not a physical or geographical declaration – it is a statement of a spiritual shift: next year in a Heavenly Jerusalem … a more perfect world. On one hand we have a regular reminder of the hardships and oppression that the Jewish people endured in Egypt, and the importance of remembering and honoring that history. At the same time, we are subtly reminded to look forward to the future – a time of safety, security, and stability.
This era of hyper-transition in which we live and work is quite the opposite of secure and stable. For example, Goldman Sachs just reported recently that as many as 300 million jobs worldwide could be replaced by AI. This coupled with this new era of “quiet quitting” leaves many employers questioning what to do next. If those of us in the business world are compelled to look both forwards and backwards, then we should be focusing on best practices in employee retention to ensure longevity and organizational sustainability, especially as our work environment continues to change. Ha Lachma Anya – everyone should have a seat at the table.
How do we keep people at the table in the first place? In working with nonprofits and for-profits alike, I can share with certainty that, in today’s competitive job market, one of the most effective methods to retaining and ensuring top performance of employees is providing mentorship and coaching. Mentorship and coaching programs need not be internal, and they can help employees enhance their skills, improve performance, and develop professionally. Even Moses was provided external coaching from Jethro when his system of arbitration and mediation collapsed. Employees begin to feel confident and motivated to achieve their company’s goals, leading to improved performance, job satisfaction, and hope about the future.
One area where I’ve seen this successfully introduced is in my firm’s work. After completing an executive search for a client, I’ve watched our firm provide coaching for those placed candidates for an entire year after they begin their position. I’ve learned that this ensures that not only the employee “sticks,” but also that the organization honors a culture of continuous learning and improvement. When employees feel valued and supported, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated in their work. External mentorship and coaching programs show employees that their organizations are committed to their professional development and success. This leads to increased loyalty, improved job satisfaction, and higher retention rates. No one is left out in the proverbial cold.
The Passover Seder can serve as a powerful reminder of the importance of looking both backwards and forwards in all aspects of life. This balance is especially relevant in today’s rapidly changing business environment, where organizations must find ways to retain their employees and ensure long-term sustainability. The path to a land flowing with milk and honey is a path full of increased loyalty, job satisfaction, and retention rates, and a resulting confidence to navigate the uncertainties of the future.
Avi S. Olitzky, formerly a congregational rabbi, is president and principal consultant of Olitzky Consulting Group based in St. Louis Park, Minnesota.