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If it’s true that a business is only as good as its people, what should you do if one of your key employees decides to quit? Should you make a counter-offer and convince them to stay? Or is it better to let them leave and hire someone else?

When things seem to be going well, it can be shocking to receive an employee’s two weeks’ notice. However, resignations are generally an inescapable part of doing business. You may try to persuade your employee to stay on, offering more money or more flexible working hours. Or you may determine it’s better for both parties to cut ties. But, how can you tell when to hang on and when to let go?

Why are they leaving?

The first thing you need to do is find out why your employee is leaving. Is it for more pay? Is it because they dislike the work? Or do they not see a clear path to promotion? Salary is often a motivational factor, but many other reasons that could make employees look elsewhere for a job. An unhappy employee can be challenging to manage and may end up leaving eventually anyway. Sometimes it’s best to let people go when they’re ready to move on. If you think there may be problems, the departure could be best for both parties.

On the other hand, if your employee is leaving because there is not clear path to promotion with your company, it may be easy and beneficial to talk through their goals. You may be able to make an offer that benefits both them and the company.

What kind of role does the employee play in your company?

On average, it costs $4,129 to hire a new employee, and about 42 days to fill the position, according to a study by the Society for Human Resource Management. Of course, that depends significantly on the role. If it’s an entry-level position, it could be as low as $1000, but that number frequently tops $5000 for jobs with more skills or experience required. Knowing what it costs to replace workers who leave should play a role in determining whether it’s worth it to your company to try to convince a worker to stay.

Retaining Workers

If you feel like your employee is someone who might stay if the right counter-offer is made, and if replacing them could be expensive and take a long time, it wouldn’t hurt to ask what you can do to make them stay. If you want to start with salary, ask them how much they would like to make to stay with your company. Salary.com allows you to research positions and measure whether you’re paying a competitive wage.

Perhaps the problem isn’t the pay, but dissatisfaction in some other area. Employees often have a hard time being honest with management about these types of issues. But encourage your worker to share openly; what has either of you got to lose at this point? If you can make changes to ease their dissatisfaction, would they stay?

Recognize when an employee may be about to move on.

If you can keep your employees engaged on the job and happy in their roles, maybe you can avoid being faced with this situation altogether. Different surveys yield different results, so depending on who you trust, anywhere between 51% and 83% of your workers are ready to jump ship. Recognize the signs, and maybe you can be proactive to retain them.

If your workers are coming in late or leaving early, miss deadlines or turn in sloppy work, or avoid taking on new projects altogether, they may be job hunting or thinking about it. You can also look for clues on social media.

Instead of waiting for the exit interview, talk to your employees now to find out how they’re doing, what types of things may be frustrating them, what’s going well for them, and any other feedback they’re willing to offer. Let them know you’re interested in hearing what they have to say and be open to making some changes if you’re serious about retaining your workers.

If when all is said and done you end up losing one of your best workers, wish them well, then talk to us at Spectra360 to see how we can help. As one of the fastest-growing talent agencies, we introduce talented individuals to logistics companies in need of their specific expertise. We work on contract, temp to hire, direct hire, or a managed services basis.