Your star employee is threatening to quit. Now what? A list of her demands are on your desk, including a nice raise in salary. Most companies would bend to the will of this employee because she’s just that—your star employee. You can’t imagine losing her, but then you think, what is it about her makes you want to keep her around? When an employee throws a list of demands at you and it’s all about the money or the extra parking spot, has she lost her passion? Is she the same employee you hired five or ten years ago?
Understanding key characteristics in your star employee will give you the ability to answer the questions, and to determine whether to offer a counter offer or not. You need to know if this employee still has the following:
First and foremost, it’s important for your star employees to have passion—not only for your product and your industry, but also for your company. When it becomes only about the perks and money it’s likely that your employee has shifted to loving her paycheck rather than her work. In order to foster innovation, you need employees that have passion for your company. This can be extremely hard to find if you’re not looking in the right places, and paying someone off won’t instantly rejuvenate his or her attitude at work.
Is the employee in question constantly going above and beyond her work duties or is she just skating by day after day, getting the tasks she needs to get done in order to survive? To be successful in business, you need employees who go above and beyond their normal job requirements and put the kind of effort in that boosts profits and the company as a whole.
Are there signs of dedication? Research shows that once a counter-offer is accepted, the employee is still a passive candidate. What shows you that she’s an individual who’s dedicated to your company and its overall vision? If you don’t see dedication in your employee, it’s time to let her go and move onto bigger and better things.
Not only are there characteristics about employees that might make you want to rethink giving into their demands, but there are a few employee retention warning signs you should be aware of. These include:
A good HR department has a pipeline full of new and eager candidates wanting an opportunity to work for your company. Sometimes hiring new, more passionate people is a reason to let go of your star employee and start training the next one.
It happens all the time and maybe if you’re not paying fairly or you can’t afford your star employee any longer, it may be time to pay someone new and fresh for less and mold him or her into your next star employee. It’s not the easiest thing to do, but sometimes companies have to make tough decisions in order to stay afloat in a competitive market.
Whether you see a lack of certain characteristics in your star employee or you have other routes you can take when he or she throws a list of demands at you, it’s important to consider the overall impact losing an employee of such caliber will have on your company. If you can afford to lose them, by all means do so, but sometimes a good engineer or marketer will make or break your company’s overall strategy and goals.
Have you ever rejected a counter offer from an existing employee? Why?
Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, is an author, speaker, Human Resources professional, and workplace social media expert who has a passion for recruiting, training, and all things social media. She is the president and CEO of Xceptional HR, and a leader in the HR community with more than 12 years of industry experience. The author of Tweet This! Twitter for Business, Jessica was named by HR Examiner as the second most influential recruiter on the Internet and the seventh most powerful woman on Twitter. She is a columnist for both SmartBrief and The Huffington Post, in addition to Blogging4Jobs and Human Resources One on One. Jessica has been interviewed for professional articles in CIO Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, SHRM’s HR Magazine, and on CBS. Jessica earned a Senior Professional in Human Resources designation in 2008, and holds a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Business from Kansas State University. Originally from a small town in Kansas, Jessica currently lives near Oklahoma City with her husband, Greg and daughter, Ryleigh.