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Competitors poached your valuable employee?
You have to become a detective and a tempter at the same time to persuade a specialist to stay with an offer in one hand and a box of personal belongings in the other.
Until recently, the position of most leaders was unambiguous – there are no irreplaceable people. But times have changed, and with them, employee policy. Now the battle for talent will be won by those who can not only understand why a person leaves, but also keep him in the company.
First you need to find out why the person decided to leave. But it’s not that easy. Often employees give socially approved answers: closer to home, more interesting tasks, or an old colleague asks to help out. Try to get the employee to talk with the help of an in-depth interview and find out what does not suit or gnaw at him. This will help determine the true reason for leaving and develop a specialist retention strategy.
Reason #1: Money
Somewhere they offered more, so the person leaves the company. Whether to raise the salary of a departing star or not is a difficult question. If he earns on average in the market, and even with regular indexation, then what kind of increase can we talk about? However, the other side offers more – why?
The answer is not as obvious as it seems. Perhaps the future employer overestimated the employee and is trying to lure him away with higher rates. Or maybe it’s just an enticing carrot in front of a donkey, and income in the future place will be comparable to the current one. For example, income may depend on the fulfillment and overfulfillment of KPIs. In such a situation, it is enough to offer the person to clarify the working conditions and find out whether he will definitely be able to receive as much as promised.
It will also not be superfluous to compare social packages. Employees are often sure that health insurance, a fitness club, mobile communications and corporate catering are a priori included in the offer. However, when they go to work, they will be disappointed, and already a bare salary without “buns” does not look so attractive. After all, now you have to pay for all this out of your own pocket. You can, together with the departing employee, compare all the advantages of the current and future positions in order to turn on his rational thinking and give him the opportunity to weigh everything again.
Reason #2: Status
It happens that a person has outgrown the position, and the manager himself knows this. Then the specialist should be deservedly promoted. But what if the increase is not expected yet? It is best to explain the situation and offer to wait. A loyal employee will stay in the company to grow further in it. Outline the time frame in which personnel changes are planned so as not to create unrealistic expectations. Even large corporations like Google leave employees when they don’t understand how long to wait for a promotion and what to do to get it for sure.
It may also be that a person needs a promotion only on paper. He feels uncomfortable in his current status, but everything else suits him. Dan Cable, a professor at the London Business School, found that job titles have an impact on job satisfaction. The best motivated employees are those who themselves have come up with a name for themselves. Rename the position of a specialist without changing the working conditions: make the developer the lead developer, the head of the sales department the sales director, and if the corporate culture allows, then enter creative names: the seller of happiness or the employee of the care service. So you satisfy the ego of a person with a little blood.
Reason #3: Fatigue
Much more difficult is the situation in which the specialist is “burned out” – he does not want to work, the current tasks are not encouraging, and the project is fed up. Cardinal rotation will help here – transfer to another project, to a division or branch, where his competencies will also be in demand. You can also shift the focus to the other side, if the skills of a specialist allow. For example, transfer from testing to development. The employee will face completely new tasks and challenges that will change his inner mood.
So, in Japan, regular rotation is a mandatory practice. Every 3-5 years, managers are transferred to other positions, and employees are trained in related specialties. People do not have time to get used to and get tired, and the company receives interchangeable specialists who are well versed in the work of not only their site, but the entire division. It is not entirely advisable to introduce a completely Japanese management model in Russia, because we do not have a life-long employment practice and employees will leave the companies anyway. But in some cases, rotation can be a salvation.
However, in any case, it will not be superfluous to provide an unplanned vacation, because the main cause of burnout is overwork. Let the person rest for a week or two and gather his thoughts. During this period, it is advisable not to disturb him with production issues. In addition, send an employee to a full-time psychologist or pay for visits to a third-party. Prolonged burnout leads to depression, which is much more difficult to treat. Preventive measures work best with burnout, so keep an eye on employee behavior. If someone lost their enthusiasm, began to look untidy and communicate with sarcasm or aggression, then this is a clear sign that the person is at the limit.
Reason #4: Everyday Routine
Dissatisfaction with everyday life is the simplest problem that can be solved literally in one day. The main thing is to know about it. For example, a person says that everything in the workplace annoys him every day, and he decides to leave. But in fact it turns out that he has a broken chair or an outdated computer, which bring discomfort. Or the company works in open space, and a person needs silence. Such reasons sound ridiculous, but often the leader has to think about such things.
The same situation can be with the schedule, especially in companies with a traditional mode of operation. Perhaps a person gets tired from the road and wants to work at home once a week. Or the child went to school, and he had to be picked up not at seven in the evening, but at six, and the current work schedule for the employee no longer suited. Or maybe he has moved and it is more convenient for him to come to the office no earlier than 11. In any case, it is most rational to meet halfway. Indeed, it is often not so important at what time the specialist arrived or where he physically works, if the projects are delivered on time and KPIs are met. Such a step will not only keep a person from leaving, but also increase his loyalty, as well as the entire team. People will know that they are not indifferent to the company and they will always come to the rescue.
Reason #5: Atmosphere
Another non-obvious reason is the conflict in the team. Perhaps there is an aggressor or schemer in the team. The task of a competent HR is to detect the problem and eliminate the root causes with the help of reshuffles, conversations and team building. After all, if a valuable specialist leaves because of a toxic employee, then this will be a signal to the rest that the management is not able to cope with discord in the team. Then staff turnover is just around the corner.
But what if the employee himself provokes others and scandals at work? Suddenly it is he – the person who pushes the team? Then the dismissal can be a boon for the company. But if the leader is not ready to part with him, he will have to come up with a way to protect the team from negative influences. Fortune companies often do this: they change business processes to limit the amount of contact a toxic employee has with others. A separate office or remote work becomes a universal way out of such situations.
And by the way, was there an offer?
Additionally, analyze the company in which the employee is going. Gather as much information as possible about her to understand if your employee was really hunted or initiated the interview, and if the competitor is negotiating with other team members. It would be useful to compare the conditions and, possibly, correct something in your own company in order to exclude the departure of other employees in the future.
It happens that there is no offer and the manager is simply blackmailed to get better conditions or privileges. Perhaps this is the only case when it is worth saying goodbye to an employee, regardless of his merits and competencies. Following the manipulator’s lead can become an unhealthy example for the team and can develop into regular negative practice. Who can guarantee that an employee will not resort to blackmail and manipulation again when he needs a raise or an additional bonus?