The $10k Job Offer Mistake that Made Me Cringe

 I hate when any team members resign. But in this market, it is to be expected. People want remote work, they’re finding promotions, more money, or whatever floats their boat.

And as a people leader that’s been doing this a long time, I always see it coming. I know when someone is about to resign.

But my heart sank when my about-to-depart employee shared a mistake she didn’t know she made. She was a young and extremely talented employee who landed a great opportunity with more flexibility.

I asked her several questions to understand if there was anything I could do to keep her or to at least be aware of issues I need to correct for other employees.

And I learned she did not negotiate being paid a signing bonus at her new company.

She earned her bonus with us because it was the end of the year, but it wasn’t paid out yet. She would be long gone prior to payment. That means she walked away from thousands of dollars she earned. At her new job, she was offered a promotion and salary increase. But no starting bonus.

I gave her the feedback. I told her the next time she changes jobs to negotiate a starting bonus that makes up for a forgone end-of-year bonus. She earned it! And while there was a salary increase, that’s a different negotiation.

The starting bonus negotiation takes place after the offer has been made. At that point, the employer is mentally committed to securing the hire. They’re halfway to the alter so to speak. Before the offer, candidates are selling. After the offer, the employer is buying.

Candidates should ask to be made whole, or for a later start date if they are walking away from earned financial incentives.

The employer made the job offer. They want the candidate. The worst that can happen is they’ll say, “no.” It’s rare to lose the offer. Odds are, candidates will get what they earned or at least a portion. This was true even prior to today’s bonkers job market.

If you’re unconvinced, run a future value calculator on what $10k turns into after 30 years.

Don’t forget what you’ve earned without making a run at it.

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