Don’t allow yourself to be caught off guard when your top employee asks to speak about moving in a “different direction”. With unemployment in technology hovering around 3%, it’s fair to say that many top producers are working, which means that the best-of-the-best are passively looking.
The top reasons people who are passively looking will leave their current role are:
Commute (ability to WFH)
The best part is that MOST of these things are under your control! Don’t let something preventable be the reason that you lose your best assets. There are significant costs associated with replacing your best employees, most importantly time, money and trust - things you may never be able to recover.
Getting Talent to Leave their Current Job is Easy
Good recruiters speak with people all day, every day and they’re looking for the weak spot in someone’s current role - do they dislike their boss or hate their commute? Do they want more responsibility or simply more money? After they learn this, they’ll use it to leverage the job opportunity they called about, emphasizing how this could benefit their career and fill the need that person has. If the #TopTechTalent is still hesitant about looking at a new job, the recruiter will ask, “What could make this offer better?”
At the end of the call, they’ll most likely let the recruiter submit them to the new role; after all, there’s no harm in looking. However, “looking” will quickly turn into interviewing, and before you know it, an offer is being accepted - this means that you will need to replace your best asset.
Appreciate What You Have
Think about who your best employee is, and then think about losing them. After the panic sets in, think about the extra work you will have to do, and then add to it the time it will take you to replace them. Even if you hire someone quickly, in your eyes, they won’t be as good as the person they replaced, they won’t be as knowledgeable of your company, and they will need time to get fully ramped up. All in all, that’s a loss for you.
My best advice is to take the time to speak to your team at least once a quarter and ask them if they are happy. Ask them - what would make you enjoy your job more, and how can I make it happen?
If they say:
My commute is long - Offer part-time remote or flexible work hours. (Cost: FREE)
My title doesn’t reflect what I’m doing - Offer a title change. (Cost: FREE)
I’m feeling a bit underappreciated - Ask what they would like to do and let them do it (Cost: FREE)
I’m not making enough money - Ask how much of a raise they’re looking for, and then work on a plan that can get them there. Paying them more will be less expensive than a recruiter's fee.
The best way to negotiate is to offer someone something that they do not even ask for. Offer a pay bump, a title change, freedom of responsibilities, and offer it before your employee has to ask. Think about the value of your employees, and make sure you offer them what they need before your competitor gets there first.