Attrition

Context:

First meeting of the first day of the week, I was told a key developer was quitting. Week is already off to an explosive start. We are already undermanned as it is. And attrition has been very bad the last few months (around 15% attrition). Losing another key resource will delay all our plans again. The resource, who I know personally, is a high-quality and high-character resource.

But he got a job offer that is almost double of what we are already giving him. And we just gave him an increase a few months ago – and we are confident his salary is at fair market value. Probing some more, we learned the offer to him is project-basis only – thus the high amount to compensate for the high risk.

Key decision needed:

Do I counter-offer to keep him or let him walk away?

Principles:

  1. Understand if the person still believes in the company’s vision, mission, values, and leaders. If not, say goodbye. In this case, the employee enjoyed being with us, but the offer from the other side was too generous to disregard.
  2. Understand if the person is leaving because of something he does not like. If it can be resolved, resolve it for the employee. In this case, while we gave lower pay versus the new company, we were confident that we paid fairly. I still offered a minor increase given our budget capabilities – but it was nowhere near the new pay he will get.
  3. Understand if the person is going to a better opportunity – as employers, we hope that we help people grow and that they have better opportunities after they work with us than before they started. Given the almost double offer, I like to believe we helped the person grow.
  4. Accept that not everyone will stay – and be thankful they spent a portio of their life with you. Treat everyone like an alumni graduating from your school.

Decision taken:

In the end, I decided not to match the offer of the other company. While the resource is a regretted attrition, I decided to move forward. I spoke to the developer, thanked him for all his contributions, wished him well on his new endeavor, and let him know that our door is open for him should he choose to come back.

For discussion, if you were in my position, what would you have done?

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