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3 Reasons NOT to Ask an Employee Who’s Quit to Stay!

3 Reasons NOT to Ask an Employee Who’s Quit to Stay!

I worked for a big company as a Regional VP and was ready to leave. It was just time. The owner of the company, who had always driven Toyotas bought his first status car – a Jaguar. When I gave my notice, he said if I stayed I could use his brand new Jaguar for a year!  

First, he didn’t have a clue what motivated me, although I’d worked for him almost 10 years. Second my mind was made up. But 3rd and most important, the notice period was very awkward because I wasn’t planning to stay and a good employer/employee relationship soured a little. So don’t do the “Jaguar!”

Don’t ask the person to stay, offer them more money, or negotiate, no matter how tempting.  Even with your best employee ever. MAYBE there are exceptions to this rule, but generally speaking, it’s not a good practice. Here are 3 reasons why:

1.Even the best employee has had to “divorce” you in his/her mind in order to accept another position. In fact, they have had to consider ways the next option is better, and possibly come up with things they don’t like about your company.  In most cases, even if they stay, they don’t stay long, so you still have to replace them anyway.  

2.If you have to offer them more money to stay, there is always the question in the back of the departing employee’s mind: why wasn’t I worth that before I gave notice?  And that can turn it into a “bidding war” between you and the prospective new employer. 

3.If you ask them to stay and they don’t, the notice period goes from helpful and positive to downright AWKWARD!  

So the best thing you can do is to resist the urge and let them leave well!  Thank them for the contributions they’ve made.  Wish them the best.  Let their departure be as positive as it can, so if the grass wasn’t greener they may actually ask to come back.  We’ve lost some great employees over the years, and an amazing percent have returned!  One has even returned twice!  Even if the departing employee never returns, you’ve set a strong example for your team of the right way to treat a departing (or staying) team member and you can greet that former employee without shame the next time you see him or her.  So resist the urge to ask them to stay!

Discussion or dissenting opinions on this? Please comment!  

 

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This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I couldn't agree more. I've experienced this both as an employee and employer. Sometimes you can't see what you have until it's gone.

  Cliff Webster, Jr.
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

That's right, Cliff! Thanks!

  Mary Gwyn
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

So true! I have said this repeatedly to my team that asking someone to stay is only a short term fix and will usually result in a departure at a later date as you stated and does not address or correct the underlying issue that made them decide...

So true! I have said this repeatedly to my team that asking someone to stay is only a short term fix and will usually result in a departure at a later date as you stated and does not address or correct the underlying issue that made them decide to look elsewhere in the first place.

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  Terry W
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

You are correct, Terry! We need to learn why people leave and fix that, rather than that short term "begging" that only buys a little time. Thanks for the comments!

  Mary Gwyn
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Ok so I get it. How about the employee who leaves, gone nearly a year, gets a call-email from previous employer asking will you come back and if so what would it take. Now said employee left for reasons, negotiates terms of return that address...

Ok so I get it. How about the employee who leaves, gone nearly a year, gets a call-email from previous employer asking will you come back and if so what would it take. Now said employee left for reasons, negotiates terms of return that address all of his concerns with an offer of more money than expected, yet nearly another year gone bye and the only thing said employee has attained that was promised is the money. Not a comfortable situation.

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  John Taylor
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Very good point and very uncomfortable. We call that pink smoke, and it is so important for employers NOT to over promise. . That employee sadly will leave again. And I doubt any begging will get them back. We have had the honor of employees...

Very good point and very uncomfortable. We call that pink smoke, and it is so important for employers NOT to over promise. . That employee sadly will leave again. And I doubt any begging will get them back. We have had the honor of employees returning to us after either they found the grass wasn't greener or we had a position the met their career path at that point. It is always an honor, and it takes work BOTH ways to keep employees satisfied!

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  Mary Gwyn
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I agree somewhat but also disagree. I believe it depends on the individual, their overall work ethic, their reasons and the manner that they submitted their resignation. I don't believe anyone should beg someone to stay or bribe them with a...

I agree somewhat but also disagree. I believe it depends on the individual, their overall work ethic, their reasons and the manner that they submitted their resignation. I don't believe anyone should beg someone to stay or bribe them with a temporary fix such as the Jaguar for the year. I do believe that people want to feel appreciated and valued and don't always want to move on. This should be expressed by the employee at the time of resignation and the company should decide if that individual is worth what they are looking for.

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  Pat Daly
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Pat, great points, especially that of making sure people feel appreciated and valued. If we all did a better job at that throughout someone's employment, it might not get down to a good employee giving notice. Thanks for giving another point of...

Pat, great points, especially that of making sure people feel appreciated and valued. If we all did a better job at that throughout someone's employment, it might not get down to a good employee giving notice. Thanks for giving another point of view!

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  Mary Gwyn

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