Did you know that 91% of companies plan to hire new staff in the next 12 months and that a third of employees are actively looking for a new job? (Paycor, HR in 2023) In this hyper competitive job market, you need a plan for when your top talent jumps ship. By all means, do everything you can to create a culture of retention. But you may also want to consider a “break glass in case of emergency” option—the counteroffer. Counteroffers should be your last resort, as they carry inherent risks. 57% of employees who accept counteroffers change companies in 2 years (Livecareer). However, in some situations, it might be your last and best chance to save a valuable employee.
When Is Countering an Employee Resignation a Good Idea?
It depends. Here are 3 questions to ask and answer when deciding to provide a counteroffer to an employee’s resignation.
- Is this employee in good standing? Does this employee have key relationships worth saving?
Some employees are not the best fit for the position they are in, and it’s often obvious. If this is the case, and the employee’s work output and relationships reflect this, this might not be the person you want to save.
- Will the counteroffer address the reason why an employee is leaving?
It’s quite possible that your employee may have heard the advice, “The only way to move ahead quickly is to get an offer from outside the company.” And, if your employee is looking to advance, you’ll want to be sure you can offer what they are requesting.
- Is this a tactic the employee is using to get what they want?
If fake-resigning works for anyone, then all employees might try it. We talked briefly about preventative measures, but it’s important to reiterate here that with a robust talent development plan that includes frequent 1:1s, reviews, OKRs and career path planning, you don’t have to be tricked into giving an employee what they want. Through a culture of continuous feedback, employees can make their career desires known and managers can provide information about the timing required to get there.
What are the benefits of offering a counteroffer to an employee?
Although much has been written about how countering a resignation could backfire; fewer articles exist about why salvaging a relationship with an employee could have some benefits. For starters, it costs a business approximately $4,000 and 3 months to hire, recruit and onboard a new employee. Simply starting a conversation about why an employee has made the decision to leave is a great opportunity to get to the root cause of an issue. Is something wrong with your culture? Are there too few opportunities for growth? Is there a manager-employee relationship that needs attention? This may be an opportunity for an employee to provide brutally honest answers without fear of retaliation. And, if an employee still has some faith in the organization, there may be a chance to keep them.
Here are 3 times when countering an employee’s resignation makes sense.
- The employee still believes in the company
- The employee has specific knowledge which makes them difficult to replace
- The employee can be moved to another manager and produce better results
How to create a counteroffer when an employee resigns
If you are in position to counter an employee’s resignation, creating a resignation counteroffer letter is as simple as letting the employee know what you are willing to do to keep them. As mentioned, before you offer anything it’s important to have a conversation with your employee so that you understand the root cause, why they’ve gotten to this point and whether or not there’s anything you can do to make them stay.
Many employers have these exchanges with resigning employees verbally, but if you need to put your offer into writing, we’ve provided a customizable template you can use. We’d suggest you include the following in your letter: your sentiment, your company’s offer, which would include any additional benefits you are able to provide, and the plan forward.
How Paycor Helps
Paycor helps enhance engagement by empowering leaders. Engaged employees rarely leave an organization. By proactively monitoring company culture and employee sentiment with Paycor Pulse, you’ll know about issues before they bubble over. Additionally, Paycor’s Talent Development can help you create a culture of feedback so you are always in touch with an employee’s wants and needs.