As soon as Surya resigned, his manager (Abdul) started making his best efforts to retain his team member. He wanted to make sure that the organization does not lose a sincere and talented employee. Abdul learned in a training program that replacement costs much more (time and money) than retention. Finally he succeeded.
What did Abdul do? He offered him the same package that the prospective employer was offering and Surya agreed to stay. After 6 months, Surya resigned again. This time Abdul didn’t try. He tried, but not from the heart. He tried for formality but actually he let Surya go.
One of the organizations was recently popular among those who were looking for a job change. Reason – it was offering a good salary hike (more than what is normally in the market). How is it related to employee retention?
First they selected Guru who was retained by his manager on an increased package. Second they selected Shankar. He was also retained by his company. As much as I know they selected at least four candidates who were all retained by their employers. Finally that organization hired someone through internal job posting.
Did all those four employees stop looking for job after that?
You guessed it right.
It’s Already Decided
Most employees start making their minds to change the job or leave the organization long before their employers might realize. Some employees are very clear at the time of joining itself that they will start looking for another job after getting rid of the relocation expenses (which is about one year in most companies). For an experienced employee, it could take more than a year to get a suitable job opportunity because of multiple concerns (package is just one of them).
So, by the time the employer realizes (which is generally the time when the employee is done with the interviews and is about to put the papers or has already put the papers depending on relationship with the manager) it becomes too late to start the employee retention process.
However; employers have their own checklists to find out if an employee is looking for a change or has started losing interest. But, those signs are visible normally after the employee gains some confidence that he has something in hand. If that employee shows signs before getting something in hand, it is certainly immature.
If the employee does not want to stay he won’t stay. He has made his mind. He is looking for a change which he won’t get in the same organization. One of my dear friends told me a unique reason for a job change. He told that he was looking for job change so that he could utilize this experience at other workplace and get some fresh feeling.
Making Benefit Out of Retention
Offering the same package is a great strategy to retain the employees however; it has its own disadvantages. Consider the case of Bobby - Bobby went to his manager and said that he wanted to resign because he had got a new job with better salary. He was a key player in his time and he knew that his manager won’t let him go particularly when the peak season would be coming.
His manager tried his best and when nothing worked he asked the same thing, “what if we increase your salary to the same level here?” After some show off, Bobby agreed. In reality Bobby had no offer in hand but still managed to get the best out of the employee retention strategy.
Sometimes the employee realizes that he has made a mistake by resigning. For such employees the retention process proves to be a savior. When Chandra resigned she was excited about going to Delhi. Then she realized there could be issues related to language, finance, water, safety, etc. which was not the case in her hometown where she was already working. She waited for the manager’s efforts to retain her and agreed to stay back (until she got an opportunity in her hometown).
The interesting thing is that the employees normally don’t reveal the real reasons why they want to move to a different organization. More interestingly, the employers’ efforts are sometimes not sincere and that might depend on several factors such as skillfulness of the employee, budget of the department, relations with the manager etc.
Or it is mostly limited to increasing the salary which at the end of the day benefits the employee who will get better hike when he tries the next time for a job change.
Respect My Stress
Offering hike or promotion in the same role is not the only method of employee retention however. Many employers believe in good communication, engagement, recognition, respect, growth etc., for retention but that doesn’t work. Why? Most (if not all) employers want their workplaces to be competitive but they are not prepared for the aftereffects of competitive environment.
Stress is the least discussed issue in the workplace, however a major reason for job change. Training programs on stress management can’t be helpful at all (at least in my opinion). A third party trainer comes for a day or two and gives you a lecture on how to deal with stress ……………… Would that help!
Work related stress is special to an individual. Unless someone from your department talks to you about your stress it would be difficult. Reason for stress could be different for different people. There could be some unique reasons too.
If the employee stays, it is sometimes because of relatively relaxed and friendly company policies which make the real difference. I have examples of people who quit for better salary but returned to the same organization because of the work culture. I know people who are working for less salary in small organizations because they feel they don’t face unnecessary pressure there.
Some people leave because they have made their mind to leave. It could be due to stupid reasons, immaturity, lack of technical skills, going for own business, marriage etc. It might also be due to personal reasons (stress) which employee might not want to disclose. No one could stop them.
Not every employee needs to be retained either. Years ago, a professional HR trainer told me that a good manager should be able to differentiate between who needs to be retained who doesn’t.
Others may be retained but the solution should not be sought after resignation or after the employee has already made his/her mind (which might be 2 years or 3 years back).
Of course money is a reason. While the currently employer might give a growth of only 5-10%, the new employer might give 25-30% growth and a better designation. Money matters but everyone doesn’t think like that.
Many employees remember their employers having great work culture and miss that time. The focus should be on continuous improvement in work culture. Not everyone can be pleased but for people like me work culture/policies might be far more important than money and I have been very lucky to find great managers in most of my roles.
लाभस्तेषां जयस्तेषां कुतस्तेषां पराजयः I येषामिन्दीवरश्यामो हृदयस्थो जनार्दनः II