The other day I was sitting around with some friends sharing “office” stories, from the past and present. It surprised me to learn how each one us had been slapped in the face by our employer, the exact same way. We were left hurt, angry, frustrated and felt devalued.

But more surprisingly was the consistency of the employer’s reaction to our reaction…they were shocked! Confused. In disbelief.

Here is an over-simplified version of the slap in face scenario:

Employee: “Here is my resignation letter”

 Employer: “WHAT? WHY? Talk to me”

 Employee: “I have been bringing this up for the past 6 months. I have been over delivering results, taking on more responsibility and meeting my development plan, yet you keep telling me I am still not ready for the next thing. And, your are not really telling me what specifically I need to do.”

 Employer: “Well, we have been very impressed with your contribution and think highly of you…you know that right?”

 Employee: “I don’t really because you have been giving me inconsistent messages and I don’t feel you are as committed to me as I am to you.”

 Employer: “We are very committed to you.” (here comes the slap in the face) “In fact, what can I do to make you stay?”


That’s right, the post resignation counter-offer. SLAP!  OUCH!

Before the resignation the organization’s attitude is slightly arrogant and flippant, “we kinda hear you and we think you are terrific but you are just not ready”. After the resignation, an organizational attitude adjustment occurs “you are ready and we are committed to you”.

One of two outcomes occur; 1) the employee accepts the counter offer and stays but is now jaded and less committed, 2) the resignation is followed through and the organization incurs the costs of time, resources and profits.

No matter which outcome occurs, it is lose-lose.

My suggestion to organizations/leaders: when you have employees that believe, honour and live the company’s “IT” you must nurture and foster the relationship with trust, transparency and clear expectations. Your employees can handle the truth.

My suggestion to employees: if you truly believe, honour and live the company’s “IT” then trust, be open, honest, and deliver results. You may not always like to hear the truth, but the truth is real and it will provide you clarity.

People are the greatest asset of any company. When employees are living the company IT!, KEEP them by treating them fairly and with respect. No more slapping!