3 Reasons NOT to Ask an Employee Who's Quit to Stay!

I worked for a big company as a Regional VP and was ready to leave. It was just time. The owner of the company, who had always driven Toyota's bought his first status car – a Jaguar. When I gave my notice, he said if I stayed I could use his brand new Jaguar for a year! First, he didn’t have a clue what motivated me, although I’d worked for him almost 10 years. Second my mind was made up. But 3rd and most important, the notice period was very awkward because I wasn’t planning to stay and a good employer/employee relationship soured a little. So don’t do the “Jaguar!”

Don’t ask the person to stay, offer them more money, or negotiate, no matter how tempting. Even with your best employee ever. MAYBE there are exceptions to this rule, but generally speaking, it’s not a good practice.

Here are 3 reasons why:
1.    Even the best employee has had to “divorce” you in his/her mind in order to accept another position. In fact, they have had to consider ways the next option is better, and possibly come up with things they don’t like about your company.  In most cases, even if they stay, they don’t stay long, so you still have to replace them anyway.  
2.    If you have to offer them more money to stay, there is always the question in the back of the departing employee’s mind: why wasn’t I worth that before I gave notice?  And that can turn it into a “bidding war” between you and the prospective new employer. 
3.    If you ask them to stay and they don’t, the notice period goes from helpful and positive to downright AWKWARD! 

So the best thing you can do is to resist the urge and let them leave well!  Thank them for the contributions they’ve made.  Wish them the best.  Let their departure be as positive as it can, so if the grass wasn’t greener they may actually ask to come back.  We’ve lost some great employees over the years, and an amazing percent have returned!  One has even returned twice!  Even if the departing employee never returns, you’ve set a strong example for your team of the right way to treat a departing (or staying) team member and you can greet that former employee without shame the next time you see him or her.  So resist the urge to ask them to stay!

Discussion or dissenting opinions on this? Please comment!  

Mary Gwyn, CPM
Making the World a Better Place One Lease at a Time!