Treating two employees with similar skill sets as same is not correct. The assumption behind such thinking is that one employee may replace another with ease or just minor difficulty.
In my opinion , this makes no sense. Employees are not parts of machine that can be replaced by another when the machine malfunctions. An employee takes up a job and brings in her attitude, traits and skills to it. Keeping aside the skills, the attitude of two employees cannot be compared.
Based on above thinking , it makes it very easy for the company to let go of the employees who are experienced and have put in some amount of work with the company. However the cost of losing an employee may far outweigh the cost of retaining her. Companies pay very less attention to employee retention strategies.
Here is why I think companies lose a lot when an experienced employee resign.
Your company lose on the experience of resigning employee
Your company had groomed the employee. It has paid for the training and helped her learn about the organization for years now. You have spent time and money to get her up the speed. She knows your process and work culture very well. It all goes away with her when she resigns.
The employee may land a job with your competitor.
Competition may hire the best of your employee and often use them against your business. That could be troublesome because your employee often knows how your company works and within the legal boundaries may help the competitor to create trouble for your business.
The replacement employee will not fit-in for some time
The employee who resigned often has the knowledge and connection to make things happen while her replacement needs to start from scratch. Often the external hires come from a different company and brings their own set of values which might be in contrast to those of the new company.
In any case it will take some time before the replacement whether internal or external completely takes command of the task.
Not retaining existing employee may cause discontent among other employees
If the outgoing employee performed well at her job and the company was not able to retain her, then it might lead to a feeling of distrust among other employees of the company. Many employees would start questioning if they are indeed valued. It might prompt some of them to look out for other jobs.
In total, it may lead to a chain reaction leading to more resignations on the way.
Customers may prefer dealing with the old employeee
If your customers have a comfort level dealing with the old employee, they will find it difficult to adjust with the new one. With the old one , they knew what they could expect.
With the new one however, they will have to change the strategy and do a reevaluation and it might not be good for both them and you. It is more troublesome when critical projects and deals depend on the outgoing employee.
Opportunity cost when an employee resign
Since the employee has resigned, it might be possible that the projects she was handling could not gain that much speed. Probably handover activities took considerable time or customer did not engage well with new employee. Sometimes new projects have to be shelved because the company cannot find a suitable employee to replace the outgoing one.
Resigning employee may attract other employees to join her
A resigning influential employee often takes with her employees she is connected to , effectively crippling the work. Unhappy with the working conditions, others may also eager to join her new workplace. This could become a huge issue for your company.
She may start a competing service
A employee may resign, form ventures with your competitor and may take on your company in the business. She knows the tricks of the trade and can utilize it against you.
While this does not mean that your company becomes a hostage to unreasonable demands of the employees, it makes sense to create policies that create the right environment.
I have not see employees leaving the companies where the workplace culture is favorable to growth. Most of the employees are aware of the realities of the job market and would be happy to work with you.
Retention of resigning employee thus must be the top priority of the company.Let me know what are your thoughts on retaining employees and the cost associated with not doing that?