Your business needs high-performing staff to help it grow and thrive. When your best employees give their notice, how far should you go to try to make them stay?
Find out why they’re leaving
Before you launch into panic mode and try to win back your employee’s favor, find out why they’re choosing to leave. It’s very difficult to compete with reasons like becoming a stay-at-home parent, or moving to a new city they’ve dreamed of living in. Alyson Shontell of Business Insider reports common reasons your employees might start looking for a new job include: they are generally unhappy with their job, don’t feel respected, or are worried about the future of your company. Of course, a search for more money is also a big motivator to interview with other businesses.
Consider a counteroffer
After your employee turns in their resignation, you have the option to submit a counteroffer to try and convince them to stay. However, it might not be in your best interest. Boris Groysberg of the Harvard Business Review reports hiring an outside candidate or promoting an internal one might be more affordable for your company in the long run. Even if you do end up winning back your star player, Groysberg notes, “Fifty percent of employees who accept a counteroffer end up leaving within 12 months.”
If your high-performing staff member says they are leaving for a higher paycheck, you might have the knee-jerk reaction to simply give them a raise. However, the news of the employee’s new pay could leak to the rest of your team and encourage them to fight for similar increases. If asking doesn’t work, they might resort to applying somewhere else to put more pressure on you.
Instead of increasing pay right away in a counteroffer, Laura Vanderkam of Fast Company suggests showing your employee the career path they could have if they stay with you. This shows them there is room for growth if they stay. If there’s no clear promotions ahead, consider pointing out a prime project they could work on.
Know when it’s time to let go
Sometimes all the money and job titles in the world aren’t enough to keep star employees at your company. If the reason for quitting is an underlying issue, like lack of diversity, or a job that requires long work hours, it might not be something you can fix easily.
Besides solutions to the problem being out of reach in the short-term, you need to acknowledge the employee putting in their notice has broken your trust. You know they’re willing to look somewhere else for a new job when the going gets tough, and that might make you unintentionally stunt their professional growth.
As Glazer puts it, “Sure, the employee is still there, but only after secretly interviewing for and nearly accepting another job. This leaves managers with lingering doubts about that person's loyalty and longevity. Similarly, the employee knows the company was only willing to step up when they had one foot out the door, and that doesn't feel good either.
Employees come and go, but you do have some options if you are saying farewell to a star performer. Consider all of them before you try a to make them stay.