When it comes to resignations, there is a web of psychological intricacies at play. Resignations tend to be equated to break-ups as, in reality, they truly are a break-up with your current job with the intention of finding (or already found in most cases) a new one. In the case of resigning, the employee is the one initiating the break-up, so the employer will more than likely attempt to convince the employee to stay with the company. But why would the employer want an employee who is attempting to commit to someone else?

What Happens in the Employer's Brain During a Resignation?

  • Are they leaving because of something I did/am doing?
  • Will my bosses see me as a bad manager if this employee leaves?
  • Will this resignation affect my team and our work we are doing?
  • Will this affect my bonus?
  • I was interviewing for a promotion; will this resignation prevent me from obtaining that?
  • I was also interviewing to leave and I need this person to stay until I leave (or until I can recruit them over to my new team).
  • Will this employee recruit his colleagues to his new company?
  • How much will this employee’s replacement cost me?

There are reasons that employees interview for other jobs, and the employer is all too aware of an employee’s grievances before the resignation ever occurs, usually due to quarterly/annual reviews. It is never a complete shock when an employee resigns. Once the resignation begins, the employer will attempt several tactics to keep an employee on board.

Psychological Tactics to Be Aware of

  • This tactic is the most obvious and tends to appear in the form of a counteroffer. Here
    are few things to consider when you receive the new offer:
    • Why has it taken your current employer this long to come up with this new value for
    • Why have they not paid you what you believe you’re worth before?
  • Typically the counteroffer solution is used in short term to find someone to replace you in less than six months. It costs less to pay you more and find a replacement who they can pay less than what your new offer is.
Emotional Blackmail
  • This tactic is less obvious and tends to coincide with closer workplace relations. The employer may suggest that you’re leaving them in a tough spot - could you stay on a couple more months until such-and-such is finished?
  • They may suggest their “family culture” is better and that you aren’t going to find a better group elsewhere and that you should stay.
  • Usually, emotional blackmail also comes with a “we were just thinking about you” statement.

When discussing the psychology and all the factors involved in counteroffers, many people assume that the recruiter is only wanting you to take a new job so they can get paid. However, the fact of the matter is many recruitment consultants have guarantees with their clients that candidates will stay with the new job for a certain amount of time, or the recruiter will be required to replace the
candidate. Therefore, it is in the recruiter's best interest for the candidate to be satisfied and happy with the job they accept.

Also we would love to believe that our employer has our best interest at heart, unfortunately the research and data conducted from resignations/counteroffers does not lie.

  1. 80% of candidates who accept a counteroffer from their employer end up leaving for one reason or another within 6 months.
  2. 90% of candidates who accept a counteroffer leave their current employer within the twelve-month mark.
  3. 50% of candidates that resign will be counteroffered by their current employer (some data has shown that this percentage is more after Covid-19)
  4. It can cost the current employer as much as 213% of that employee’s salary to replace a senior executive.
  5. 50% of candidates that accept counteroffers from their current employer are actively searching for a new job within 60 days.
  6. Only 38% of hiring managers reported not making counteroffers at all.
  7. 57% of employees accept counteroffers made to them.

Considering the data and the psychology involved, there tend to be more cons when accepting a counteroffer. Job changes are major life events that need careful consideration before making hasty decisions - like accepting a counteroffer.

If you or someone you know may be considering a resignation, contact us for professional consulting services. We will be more than happy to walk you through the process.