Why you should let your best employee go when they resign


EMPLOYEES retention has been a top priority for companies worldwide, with many investing in various strategies to keep their best employees. In Zimbabwe, the economic environment makes it even more difficult for employers to keep some of their best employees.

The traditional approach to employee retention involves investing in various strategies such as competitive salaries, benefits packages, and career growth opportunities.

While these strategies can effectively retain employees, they are not foolproof. Employees can still become disengaged or burnt out, leading to turnover and loss of talent. This is where the concept of "letting your best employees go" comes in.

Allowing your best employees to leave may seem counterintuitive, but it can be wise for both the company and the employee.

By encouraging top performers to gain new experiences outside your organization, you promote personal growth and development that can benefit both parties in the long run.

LinkedIn's "InDays" program allows employees to take up to a month off work to pursue personal projects or volunteer work. This programme has successfully retained employees by allowing them personal growth and development outside of work.

Additionally, it helps create a culture of trust between the employer and employee, which can lead to increased loyalty and retention.

Here are some of the reasons why you should let your best employees leave when they resign:

Encourages Growth: Allowing your best employees to leave provides them with an opportunity for personal growth and development outside of your organization. This can lead to them returning with new skills and perspectives that benefit your company. When employees can leave and explore other opportunities, they are exposed to new challenges and experiences that benefit their professional growth. This can include gaining new skills, learning about different industries or cultures, or even starting businesses.

Never counteroffer: When an employee resigns, it can be tempting for employers to counteroffer to retain them. However, counteroffering can be expensive. For example, if the employee is offered a raise or promotion, it will likely increase their salary and potentially the salaries of other employees in similar positions. Additionally, the employee is not guaranteed to stay even if the offer is accepted.

On the other hand, allowing the employee to leave can save the company money in the long run. While it may be difficult to lose a top-performing employee, it allows the company to restructure and potentially improve processes or workflows leading to higher productivity. This ultimately saves the company money in terms of time and resources. Furthermore, if the employee leaves because they have found a better opportunity elsewhere, it may be difficult for the company to match or exceed that offer.

Avoid setting a precedent: Other employees may expect the same treatment if an employer counteroffers to one employee. For example, if an employer counteroffers to one employee and word gets out, other employees may feel undervalued or resentful if they are not offered similar incentives. This can lead to decreased morale and potentially even turnover. By allowing top-performing employees to leave on good terms instead of counteroffering, the company can avoid setting a precedent and potentially damaging relationships with other employees.

Allowing top-performing employees to leave when they resign instead of counteroffering can encourage innovation, prevent stagnation, and promote growth within the company. When an employee resigns, it can be tempting for employers to counteroffer to retain them. However, allowing employees to leave can benefit the company's innovation.

Bringing in new employees with different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives can promote diversity within the company. This can help prevent groupthink and encourage creativity and innovation.

Counteroffering can create a sense of entitlement among employees and may lead to a culture where employees feel entitled to counteroffers or other incentives. This can lead to unprofessional behaviour and a lack of respect for the company and its policies.

Counteroffering to one employee may create a sense of favoritism or inequality among other employees, leading to decreased morale and potentially even turnover.

Allowing top-performing employees to leave can be seen as a risky move by some, but it can also demonstrate confidence in the company's ability to attract and retain talent. When a company has a reputation for being a great place to work, it can be confident that it will continue to attract top talent even if some of its current top performers decide to leave.

In conclusion, it may not be easy to let go of top-performing employees when they resign, but it can benefit the company in the long run.

  • Nguwi is an occupational psychologist, data scientist, speaker and managing consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, a management and HR consulting firm. https://www.linkedin.com/in/memorynguwi/ Phone +263 24 248 1 946-48/ 2290 0276, cell number +263 772 356 361 or e-mail: [email protected] or visit ipcconsultants.com.

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