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I work for a company that is not in any financial trouble and actually does quite well. The company is experiencing a lot of turnover and struggling to keep good employees and hire other ones. Most of the cases of people leaving have been for more money, although the company is at or above the average in the area.

Is this a good time to push your employer for extra benefits/pay? I realize this would come across as rude, but are there tactful ways to say, 'These people are leaving, what can you do to make sure I don't follow?'

  • @JoeStrazzere - well, it's easy to ignore a problem when it hasn't hit you in the face yet. Now that the problem of low pay causing employee disgruntlement has hit the OP's employer in the face, they might suddenly find they have some budget after all. – Carson63000 Nov 12 '13 at 1:31
  • "Most of the cases of people leaving have been for more money, although the company is at or above the average in the area" - seems to be a contradiction, unless these are particularly talented individuals who are also stepping up roles. Your managers presumably can see the difference between someone going for advancement in a higher post, and someone who just wants more cash - so if they call your bluff, what will you do? – Julia Hayward Nov 12 '13 at 9:27
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Well, like comedy, timing is everything.

HOWEVER, it is never good form to let them know you are capitalizing on their desperation. How you present this can make or break you for the next 10 years at this company.

If you come off as, "Pay me, pay me, pay me. You don't have any choice, now!" then guess who the first person gone will be when things stabilize?

If you can present it as, "Boss, we're bringing a lot of greenhorns on board, these days. I know you're working hard on recruiting, and I'd like to help with that by taking on as much as I can in on-boarding the new hires. Would you like to have lunch and let me bounce an idea off you?" Then follow it up with the new responsibilities you would like to take on and maybe even a job title change, and of course, a commensurate increase in pay.

That way you present yourself as a leader and a problem-solver whose value is higher than previously thought, rather than an opportunist looking to kick them while they're down.

  • This is better than my answer. – DJClayworth Nov 11 '13 at 20:20
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If you try the approach of "Lots of people are leaving, please give me more money so i don't follow" you are going to come across as the kind of person that kicks the company when it's down. You may get what you want, but you'll be marked as disloyal.

However, you can approach this differently. There must be some kind of reasons why people are leaving. Does it affect you? If so then its reasonable to say "I'm dissatisfied with my job because..." and ask for something else then. Could you reasonably find a higher paying job elsewhere? That's also a reason to ask. You should also talk about the benefits you bring to the company, in terms of skills or experience or ability. If you have had to take on extra responsibility due to the losses you can mention that too. No need to mention the other people. Your company will get the message.

  • >'but you'll be marked as disloyal.' I wonder where you get this fact from. Depending on many factors, at best, s/he may be marked as disloyal – happybuddha Nov 11 '13 at 21:13
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Is this a good time to push your employer for extra benefits/pay? I realize this would come across as rude, but are there tactful ways to say, 'These people are leaving, what can you do to make sure I don't follow?'

It is unlikely to work. If your company was willing to pay more to retain people then it would not have a mass exodus going on in the first place. So unless you have another position lined up and you are ready and willing to move on it you are not really in a position to bargain.

I have seen several decent companies fall because they had a mass exodus of the people who knew the business. It is not something that is specific to software either. It happens with financial firms, engineering firms, even major manufacturing companies. A major construction manufacturer went from top of the hill to licencing their brand to another company because it let the key people who made the product successful leave and it was unable to maintain the quality expected by its customers.

Many businesses do what they can to mitigate these risks but in the end most businesses fail to take business continuity seriously enough to completely avoid these types of situations.

The other issue is that many people over estimate their importance to a company. In most cases the company will be able to stumble through despite the belief by the people exiting that it fail in short order. The truth is there are many dysfunctional companies that manage to make a profit. This fact reinforces the mistaken belief that the business can afford to let its best people leave. So even if your actual importance to the company is close to YOUR perceived importance the business may not view your importance so highly.

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How many people have to leave before they consider this a problem worth fixing? Do managers complain? Are projects falling behind? Loss of customers and revenue? You may just end up negotiating with an idiot. Beware of what you ask for. If there is so much opportunity to make more money elsewhere, why haven't you left?

  • Lack of credentials & qualifications
  • Reluctant to change jobs/go through interview process
  • Loyalty

Since you want to ask for more money/benefits, being satisfied with your current salary isn't a reason. The company hasn't made any effort yet to try and retain employees so don't be so certain they want to keep you. Determine if they understand the value you bring to the company.

They may have decided not to get into a salary war, so I would suggest asking for other benefits. You never know, you could ask for flex-time and they may just offer more money. Hard to determine if logical thinking is occuring at your company.

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