How should you react when one of your valued employees tells you they are leaving for more money? The initial reaction of most managers is that there should, surely, be more to it than salary. What about that fantastic company culture you have worked so hard to create? And then there’s that very attractive flexible working policy.
We’ll come onto all those features and benefits in a moment but first, let’s tackle the dirty subject of money head-on.
A high proportion of the jobs we recruit for are sales jobs and good salespeople are highly motivated – usually (but not always) by money. This is, in fact, a good thing. A salesperson who is motivated by money will work extra hard to achieve their target and associated bonus. There should be little surprise, therefore, that a higher salary or more lucrative incentive scheme could tempt them away.
Money isn’t always the key motivator though, and this is where it pays to know your salespeople well. Some people are highly motivated by other elements of their package, such as the company car. If you know that a prestige car matters to particular members of your sales team, you only have yourself to blame if you introduce a less attractive car policy and find the resignation letters coming in.
When someone decides to leave, it presents an opportunity for employers to find out everything that has influenced the decision. Money might be the factor that is mentioned but experience tells us that a decision to move on is rarely influenced by a single factor.
The employee will probably have secured a slightly higher salary but their original decision to look around may have been spurred on by other factors, such as culture, lack of flexible working and even team dynamics. The knowledge you can gain from a wider conversation around the decision to leave can throw up some useful nuggets of information that could help to prevent further churn. You might be interested to read our blog Top 5 reasons why employees stay or leave their HVAC job.
We would encourage all employers to talk about money with their employees on a regular basis. Check in with them and assess their expectations. Not only does this give you an early warning if there is any discontent, it also makes it more likely that they will come to you directly if they feel they deserve a pay rise.
Sales staff will be acutely aware of what the market can offer them and if they have been performing well, they will justifiably appreciate recognition. The review is an opportunity to ask about other elements of their package too, such as commission/bonus and wider benefits.
As well as having conversations with staff, a wider salary review process is a beneficial exercise. You might want to compare your salaries with those of other employers in your sector and benchmark your rates annually.
We are constantly impressed by the creative range of benefits offered by employees, beyond the traditional salary/car/pension packages. Free office breakfasts, discount cards at local stores, wellbeing hours and extra parental days on top of holiday entitlement are just a few examples. Open up the dialogue and see what your teams come up with. It’s the best way to offer things that they will really appreciate.
We’ve talked above about how to handle a conversation when someone wants to leave for more money, as well as ways to avoid it happening in the first place. Finally, we’ll consider whether you should you try and persuade them to stay.
One tactic is to counter the offer they have received from elsewhere. We look at this in more detail in our article Why counter offers may not be the most effective retention strategy.
It is worth bearing in mind that even if you have been doing everything right, people will inevitably move on. There is a lot to be said for being gracious in your goodbyes. Things don’t always work out for employees in their new job. If you leave on good terms, the departing employee is more likely to approach you if they want to come back. You’ll also benefit from positive word of mouth when they talk about their time with your company.