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When A Great Employee Resigns, Is It Worth It to Buy Them Back?

Take into account multiple factors, especially their reason for leaving

When a truly great employee resigns from a company, it can be tempting to offer them a large bonus, extra benefits, and even a significant promotion to convince them to stay with the firm. But under what circumstances should you attempt to “buy” your employee back? And will these things actually convince them to stay? Keep reading to find out a few ways to analyze the situation and determine the best course of action for your business.

What is the employee’s real reason for leaving?

There are many reasons why a great employee could be leaving your company. These might include professional reasons, like a lack of salary, no recent promotion, an unclear path to career advancement, a conflict with coworkers or a supervisor, unreasonable performance expectations, or very long work hours. However, they can also include personal reasons, such as job burnout or depression, moving to further a spouse’s career, wanting to take care of an aging family member, or simply a desire to try a different career path.

Before deciding whether it’s worth it to try to keep your stellar employee, it’s important to find out the real reason why they are leaving – and it could be different than what they tell you when they resign. For example, an employee may say they just want to try something different with their career, when in reality, they simply don’t want to bring up a nagging conflict with a co-worker.

If the employee is truly an essential part of your business, you might want to confidentially ask a few trusted colleagues about why they think the employee is leaving, and what might compel them to stay.

Is the situation fixable?

Once you determine the major reason or reasons why an employee is leaving your firm, you will have to decide whether you can address them in a cost-effective manner.

Fixing a financial or salary issue

If the concerns are financial, it’s a good idea to assess just how much financial value the employee is truly bringing into the company, to determine how much money you can reasonably offer them to stay with the firm. While it may be easy to calculate the value of a worker in a sales position, this assessment can be more challenging if they do something that is valuable, but cannot be easily quantified.

When calculating the employee’s value, you may also want to factor in any major clients or business partners that they could potentially take with them to their next position, the time and expense of training a new employee, and the individual expertise, creativity, and other somewhat intangible factors that a great worker can bring to a business.

Fixing a career advancement, employee conflict, or personal problem

If the concerns involve the employee’s chances for career advancement, work hours, or a conflict with another employee, you may want determine what you can do to address these issues. If you own or manage a very small company, you may not be able to reasonably guarantee that an employee can get a better position a few years down the road. However, if you manage a larger company, this could be a quick fix. Likewise, if the issue revolves around an employee conflict, you can easily switch the employee to a different supervisor or department in a larger firm, something that could be impossible in a smaller business.

If the worker is leaving for personal reasons, there may be no solution – especially if it revolves around advancing the career of a spouse or taking care of an elderly relative. However, if an employee simply wants to spend more time with their kids or other family members, you may want to offer them reduced or flexible hours in order to do so.

After it is fixed, will the employee still be great?

Before offering any of these options to a departing worker, it’s best to first consider whether you think they still have any desire to stay with the business. The last thing you want to do is to give an employee an offer they can’t refuse, only to see them unhappy and unproductive several months later. In this case, you haven’t helped them; you’ve trapped them, and wasted your own resources while doing so.

At Capital Markets Placement, we understand what makes and motivates top performers in every field – and we have the expertise, resources, and technology to find the next great employee for your firm. Contact us today 212.342.7430 or fill out our online form for a free consultation.


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