On recently reading Amy Gallo’s article, What to Say and Do When Your Employee Has Another Job Offer on the Harvard Business Review I was inspired by what she had to say. Having an employee express his/her intention to resign is indeed an issue that catches quite a few leaders off guard, in turn leaving them unable to react effectively. Gallo encourages managers to take this opportunity to “learn more about your own organisation, your team, and yourself” by really talking to the employee and finding out their real reasons for leaving in order to be able to act in a way that better assists the business.

This topic is not often explored but it is certainly something that all employers have had to deal with at some stage in the past and will continue to deal with in the future. Done correctly, benefits such as higher employee engagement and lower staff turnover may become a reality. 

Particularly poignant is Gallo’s comments on resisting counteroffers. My personal experiences (yes, my mistakes) have proved that a counteroffer may work for a short while, but without any other information, all it really does is delay the employee’s departure for a short period of time. In other words, if they’ve contemplated leaving in the first place, and you haven’t found out their true reasons for doing so, they will eventually get around to it again. 

Lets not forget that it is very easy for the employee to use compensation as the reason for leaving, as it is less controversial and sensitive to talk about. On the other hand, managers willingly accept issues with compensation as the reason of leaving because firstly, there’s an easy fix – present a counter offer with higher pay. As a consequence, the employee may accept the counter offer, but as mentioned above, the real issues have not been addressed so the employee eventually leaves but now with an even bigger pay. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, it provides a convenient cover for any management shortcomings. While the issues may be specific to this employee, they may also affect others and if a manager chooses to overlook this, it may cause other headaches later. 

Are you managing your employee resignations effectively?