When to Make an Offer to Get a Resigning Employee to Stay

October 5th, 2012

Your staffing strategy has never been better. Your last four hiring decisions have been brilliant, and your managers and employees appear to be thriving busily in an atmosphere of respect, trust, and shared dedication. When you walk through your workplace, you see cheerful workers in every direction, and your bottom line suggests that you’re clearly doing something right. But you haven’t done this on your own. You can easily count off a handful of people throughout the company who hold this entire operation together. Regardless of their management level, these invaluable employees are natural leaders and you know perfectly well that you wouldn’t be where you are without them.

Just as you’re patting yourself on the back for the efficiency and productivity of your staffing strategy, one of your very best employees walks into your office with a dreaded announcement. She’s about to leave.

Counter a Resignation: Simple Steps

First, don’t give up just yet. There’s a strong possibility that your next few moves can change her mind and keep her onboard. But be careful. There’s a fine line between a happy, productive employee and resentful, conflicted prisoner trapped in golden handcuffs. Ask a few tactful questions, then act accordingly.

First, find out why she’s leaving. And listen to her tone, not just her words. If her answer is abbreviated and dismissive, you’re odds of keeping her are slim. A strong personal component, like a family obligation, may also elicit a clipped and determined explanation. But if there’s any chance that she hasn’t fully made up her mind, her answer will be longer and more detailed, and may even sound open-ended, as if she’s not making a declaration but asking for advice.

If another local company is luring her away with a higher offer, ask her to give you twenty four hours to counter it. Then work with your accounting and HR departments to see what you can come up with. But you’ll be lucky if her decision is only about money. More likely, many factors will be involved, including her long term career goals and how they may conflict with the opportunities she’s finding here. She may also be unhappy with some aspect of this job in ways that she’s kept hidden or handled on her own until now.

If she’s dissatisfied for one simple reason, pounce on the problem, and do it today. If her relationship with her manager isn’t working out, for example, take decisive action to open communication channels and resolve the issue. If she has commuting difficulties or workplace access problems, don’t just wave goodbye. If you do, you may be letting a simple obstacle take away one of your most valuable company assets. Is she struggling with housing, childcare, or a health issue? Test the limits of your creative problem solving skills and find a way to restructure her benefits and perks to bring her back on board.

Just don’t make promises you can’t keep. In your rush to secure this employee, consider all long-term costs, and don’t set her—or yourself—up for a future of resentment and compromise. If worse comes to worse, just have faith in your staffing strategy and remember that whatever you did to find her, you can probably do again.
 
Before you put together a last minute deal to keep a valuable employee on your team, contact the NC staffing experts at PSU. We can help you limit potential mistakes as you move forward.

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