Convince Your Star Employee to Stay or Let them Go?
When an employee turns in their notice, managers always face a fork in the road. Should they keep the employee and try to negotiate them staying, or should they just let them go? Now factor in if the employee is one of your top workers. Finally, consider the market; we’re in the Great Resignation right now, and applicants are MIA.
What should you do? This blog will walk you through some considerations for the next time your best employee tells you they’re moving on.
Steps for Assessing an Employee Resignation
If you find out the employee is considering leaving but hasn’t accepted yet, there is a narrow, but rapidly closing window to do something. Remember, this is your star employee. What would you do to keep them? At the very least, you may be able to counter the higher salary they’ll probably get.
Take the employee aside. Go out for coffee. Have a private Zoom chat. The point is to do a one on one with them ASAP to find out what’s going on. It’s okay to ask what the offer is, where they’re going, and why they’re leaving—or anything else that seems relevant. Of course, the employee doesn’t have to tell you anything. If they do, it may mean a small part of them wishes they could stay. Or, it could be a move to show you that they’re valuable and you’re a jerk for not giving them the compensation package you’re getting in a new company.
For that matter, it may not even be the money. If you open yourself up to talking with the employee when they resign, and they’re comfortable enough to be candid, perhaps you’ll learn a few things that might make you uncomfortable. A manager sometimes is the last person to hear about dysfunction within a team.
Approach the discussion collaboratively, unless the employee is unexpectedly hostile or shut down—something we wouldn’t expect with your star employee. Be candid in sharing why you appreciate them so much. Try to find out what they’re not getting in their current job that they think they’ll find in their new one.
If the issue is just about the money, you should go into the meeting with a clear demarcation line as to what concessions you’re willing to make. Don’t discount the value of additional days off or more scheduled flex time as just as valuable as salary, either. In fact, if money is the only issue and it’s your star employee, it should be well worth it for you to do what you need to do to at least counter their alternate offer.
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