Staffing Manager Tip: When An Employee Resigns, Don't Counter-Offer

Posted by Bill Fries on May 30, 2013 8:23:00 PM

“I need to talk to you.  May I shut the door?”  This is usually how a resignation starts.  While the employee is explaining their situation and reasons for leaving, the Tampa staffing manager is busy thinking “oh no, I’ve got to replace this person on top of the hundreds of other things I’m juggling on my plate right now.”    Your immediate instincts often are to make a counter-offer to entice the employee to stay.   

resignation staffing manager tampa

On the surface, a counter-offer seems like a good, cost-effective option because it’s expensive to hire and train a new employee.   There are several reasons why the best option is to skip the counter-offer and wish the employee well:

  • The decision has been made.   By the time they’ve had the “I’m leaving” conversation with you, they’ve already made up their mind to leave, pursued other options and in most cases, have already moved on.   A counter-offer late in the process may make them pause and think; however, what they’re really thinking is “why didn’t you offer this before I quit?”    
  • Animosity and Fear.   If a counter-offer is accepted and the employee stays, in our experience, the employee ends up leaving within a year in 80% of the cases. The cause is often related to fear and animosity developing between the employee, their team and management.   The employer fears the employee quitting again while the employee fears getting laid off. Animosity mounts when management rethinks the additional investment they’ve made in the employee (counter-offer) often putting more pressure on the salvaged employee to produce even more results.  Ultimately, this strains the already rocky relationship causing the employee to regret not taking the other opportunity.   It’s a cycle which spirals downward very quickly.
  • Money is not always the reason for departure.   Sure, compensation is important and everyone would like to earn more; however, people leave for reasons other than money including a change in management styles, new responsibilities, environment and company cultures.   These areas cannot be changed easily for a counter-offer.   More money may entice someone to stay in the short-term but ultimately they’ll pursue opportunities that offer the changes they desire       
  • Consider the rest of the team.   We all know morale is affected whenever someone leaves a team.  Morale suffers more when members of a team realize one has been awarded a “better deal” after threatening to leave the team.   This is simple human nature at work.  Like a parent who favors a sibling by giving a gift to one and not the others, it eventually creates a poor dynamic within the team. 

On the flipside, the advice is the same for the employee resigning and considering an employer’s counter-offer:  don’t accept it.  Don’t take it for all of the exact reasons above AND one other very important fact:  most hiring managers will immediately start a search for your replacement whether you stay or go.  

As a Tampa staffing manager, the best way to respond to a resignation is to accept it, listen to their feedback and reasons for leaving, wish the employee well and work together on a transition plan.  Most smart employees won’t want to burn a bridge and will work with you to leave the company in a good place ready for their successor.   The most important part of the conversation is to understand their reasons for leaving.  This feedback is extremely valuable allowing you to proactively prevent others from leaving the team.


When someone leaves, the true costs of hiring need to be considered.   Download our free guide to help you reduce these costs today. 

What are the True Costs of Hiring?

Tags: management, supervisor tips, staffing tips, staffing FAQ, salary

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