What companies don’t understand about resignations and counter offers

Infrastructure resignation Ellis Fox Blog

It seems that the great resignation is far from over. There are more jobs available than there are candidates to fill them and employees know it. If they want to earn more, finding a new job is probably easier than asking for a raise. And it’s leaving companies understaffed and floundering.

When an employee walks in their manager’s office and presents them with a resignation letter or an offer from another company, managers have only minutes to think of what to say. Too often, if it’s an employee that the company can’t afford to lose, the knee-jerk reaction is to simply match the offer to get them to stay. If it is all about the money, then they might accept and stay. The problem is that often it’s about much more than just money, but managers don’t see that.

They know it’s difficult and expensive to replace staff. Especially if you add in the costs of onboarding and the time it takes before staff are fully operational. With that in mind it’s seems easier to match an offer to get people to stay rather than having to replace them. In the short term this might work, but it doesn’t create a healthy culture. The work dynamic changes and often the same people will leave a few months down the line because the real issues remain.

People look for other opportunities when they don’t feel valued at work, or when they feel that the amount of effort they’re being asked to put in is not worth what they’re being paid. If companies really want to keep their staff without having to make counteroffers there is another way. In fact, two ways:

  1. Make the effort to understand what’s important to individual employees.

This comes down to building genuine relationships with people because that’s when you discover that James has a 7 year-old that loves football. He prefers to work from home so that he can take him to practice and watch his games. It’s not that James want’s time off, he just wants flexibility so that he can spend more time with his family. Also not having to commute saves him money, so he has a bit of breathing room despite the cost-of-living crisis.

  1. Pay people what they’re worth.

If people are earning well, they don’t go looking for other opportunities. Don’t wait until a resignation, adjust budgets and make sure employees know they’re valued by what they get to take home.