After the trust has gone…

It’s Monday morning and one of your solid, reliable employees drops a bombshell by resigning.

You have monthly and quarterly reports looming for a key account on a big tracking project, that this employee does all the day to day legwork on, and you know that the client won’t be happy if the account team changes again. It’s the last thing you need right now, so what are you going to do about it? Of course you need to try to persuade them to stay!

Perhaps you can look to promote them in 6 months if the next wave of reporting goes smoothly; maybe you could promise to transition them onto a different project by the end of the year, or give them more variety with a few qual projects – haven’t they always been interested in doing qual? You can definitely throw a bit of money at the problem – they are not that well paid right now and it will cost you at least £6,000 in recruitment fees to replace them so if you throw a £4,000 pay rise sweetener at them then you are still quids in. Problem solved right?

This scenario certainly can solve the problem in the short term – the employee feels wanted and needed, and they are definitely happy with the pay increase so they decide to stay. But what happens after that?

The employee often starts to wonder why it took a resignation to get that £4000 pay rise – they were clearly worth it so why weren’t they offered it at pay review time a month earlier? And all those promises about changing accounts – is that really going to happen? Your employee is now in a better position to find a higher paid job – with their new higher basic salary they look like a hotshot so they may as well start to look around again and get themselves even more money.

From the employers’ perspective, you may have solved your short term problem but you can’t help but be suspicious every time they dash into a meeting room to take a personal call or have a last minute doctors’ appointment. Promotion time is coming up but you can’t help feeling that you have already given them too much this year. The trust just isn’t there any more so why should you look to move them onto new accounts?

According to a survey of recruiters in the USA, of employees who accept a counter offer, a staggering 85% of them go on to leave the company within 6 months, and only 3% of them are with the company 18 months later. The reality is that the trust has gone on both sides and an exit will be on the horizon sooner rather than later.

It’s Monday morning and one of your solid, reliable employees drops a bombshell by resigning. Take a breath and don’t panic – they are clearly unhappy in the job and trying to patch up the problem is just postponing the inevitable. Shake their hand, thank them for their valuable, hard work and let them work their notice period whilst you can plan their replacement. It may be that you have an up and coming executive who is just waiting for a chance to shine, or you can recruit an energetic and enthusiastic person who your client will love and will give you a good few years’ service. This will give your team and your clients a whole new refreshing perspective and will promote greater office happiness. It may be a short term pain but it leads to a longer term gain.