Ok, here at EnigmaHR we want to tell it like it is.
Can throwing a bucket full of money at a departing employee really keep them? Intuitively we don’t think so. Our experience tells us the same thing. It takes a lot to leave a company, even if it’s one you dislike.
If an employee is genuine about moving on, and not just on a fishing expedition for more cash, a counter offer may well come too late. If you’re a manager and they are in your office with a letter, they are probably both logically and emotionally detached from your company. Your employee has gone through a long and hard thought process both around resigning and around the pluses and minuses of a new job.
We’ve found one of the main reasons people leave jobs voluntarily is that in some sense their trust has been broken. That trust may be about many things. For example – the promise the company delivered in the way they said they would treat them; a promise a company made about career opportunities; or a promise a company made about the possibilities of a job.
Counter offers that are just financial may only work as a short term lure, if an employer does not work hard to tackle any underlying issues, or the most important motivation around why people resign.
The other reason we’ve found that counter offers fail is that (shock horrors) employees are not always honest when they say why they are leaving. Resigning, even from a bad job, can be hard work, particularly if people are emotional, or do not want to open up a discussion around their dissatisfaction. To say it’s the money, is an easy out in this scenario.
If you’re an employer and tempted to make a counter offer there are things to think about. Firstly there’s the impact on your other employees. If they haven’t boasted about their conquest down at the pub, there will be a few people that your exiting employee has confided in discreetly, no matter how carefully worded your confidentiality clause around salary is written. Word will get out that this person has just talked themselves into a big pay rise.
So what’s the latest on what it takes for people to be truly satisfied in their roles?
People describe cash as the hygiene factor – something that you notice when it’s not there. So if you’re not earning enough money, struggling to pay the bills or satisfy your basic needs, it can be a cause of huge dissatisfaction. However, if you do have enough money, beyond the initial rush of a nice big fat pay increase, then other things start to play a part.
Things we’ve found to be big motivations to stay at a job are really just the fundamentals of good people management. Employees feel safe. The feel respected. They believe the company cares about them. They feel listened to. They have the amount of autonomy in their roles that is right for them.
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