Hello Everyone, I am Poonacha. M.P. I head a company that is into Non-Scheduled Air Operations. Unfortunately, our company doesn't have a dedicated HR hence most of the HR-related proceedings are to be handled by me. I have a tricky situation wherein a GO GETTER and ALL-ROUND performer who has worked with us for the past 9 years is wanting to quit the company owing to better career prospects/progression.

Now having defined the employee as a top-class performer I would not want to lose this employee. At the outset, I am planning to write an email to higher management to retain this employee. At the outset can someone suggest points to be mentioned in the email / help me out with an effective draft email.

From India, Bangalore

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Dear Mr Poonacha MP,

There are two sides to your post. One is to retain an employee, and another is to allow him to go. Let us discuss it one by one.

Retaining an Employee: - If the employee has spent nine years in an organisation, then overall he must have been attuned to the working culture. He must be carrying the wealth of tacit knowledge with him. Because of this tacit knowledge, your organisation in general and you, in particular, might have developed a dependence on him. Therefore, to retain a long-serving employee, you may negotiate with him a higher salary and a job enlargement at the same time. If he is not satisfied, then you may grant him a higher designation as well. Beyond this, there is nothing that you can do.

Allowing the Employee to go: - If the employee has spent nine years in a company, then it merits analysis of retaining him. Employee attrition is not always bad. If he goes, then what are the losses? Does his work correspond with the salary that he draws? Have you done this analysis? In fact, if you could arrange a replacement with a lower salary, then you will be able to bring down the employee cost.

Secondly, because of the long stay, the innovativeness of the long-serving employee gets blunted. In contrast, a new person always wishes to prove and therefore, may infuse new ideas. Therefore, retaining this employee may mean the inability to bring new ideas. In that case, what is the cost of lost opportunities? You may calculate this loss also.

Thirdly, for the sake of retention, if you raise his salary, then in a small organisation like yours, the news may spread, and it may fire up the ambition of the other employees. They may also put in papers to get a raise. Therefore, please calculate the cost of this unanticipated spin-off also.

Lastly, let us remember the age-old proverb rolling stone gathers no moss. However, it is not just a stone, but flowing water also gathers no moss. There is nothing permanent in life except a change. Your mind has been conditioned to his stay in the organisation. You could become upset because of his absence. However, consider this a temporary phase, and move on. Let the stagnated water in your organisation start flowing, and prevent the moss it has been gathering.

Final Comments: - For retaining a long-serving employee and allowing him to go, there are merits and demerits on both sides. Nevertheless, if you allow him to go, then you should be able to extract tacit knowledge from his head as much as possible and convert it into explicit knowledge. To extricate tacit knowledge, you need to sit with him and record every small thing. He very well knows the attitudes, mindsets of the external parties that he deals with. His actions and decisions are based on this understanding. You may make a note of anything and everything. If you could do this, then you will be able to share this information with a newcomer, and this, in turn, will make it possible to offset the disturbance caused because of the quitting of the long-serving employee.

We the members of the public forum can give the suggestion as a neutral party. We will be able to see, what you may not. However, the final call will be yours.

All the best!

Dinesh Divekar

From India, Bangalore
Dear all,

Just two days ago I wrote my reply and I came across a great article by McKinsey & Company. They have stated:

If your only response to attrition is to raise compensation, you’re unwittingly telling your people that your relationship with them is transactional and that their only reason to stay with you is a paycheck.

—See what really matters and learn how to do better in “‘Great Attrition’ or ‘Great Attraction’? The choice is yours

Click on the hyperlink to read the article.

Thanks,

Dinesh Divekar

From India, Bangalore
Dear colleague,

You want suggestions on writing to management a recommendation on retaining a top performing employee who has decided to quit for better prospects after putting in nine years of valuable service.

Following points may be considered recomendations:

As a first step, have a one to one talk with him. Ascertain and negotiate on non- committal basis what fresh terms - monetary increase, higher position responsibility etc are acceptable to him for continuing. Will those expected terms, be acceptable to you and to higher management? Will this fresh offer , create a great disparity amongst the equals ? If these basic points are clear to you then consider putting recomendations taking into account the following:

1. His qualitative and quantitative contribution during nine years in general and last couple of years in particular.

2. Why you consider him indispensable. Highlight if his knowledge and skills are unique or rare and are not easily replaceable.

3 . Reason why he considers the monetary offer or position change in new job, if any, is better than the present .

4 Highlight that his retention on recommended terms, will not disturb the apple's cart by creating adverse repurcussions on employees particularly those of same vintage or equals .

Since your outfit is a small entity, I don't believe you will have any insurmountable challenge in retaining this employee which you are keen on retaining.

Regards,

Vinayak Nagarkar
HR and Employee Relations Consultant

From India, Mumbai

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