One of my close family members is dealing with a tough situation right now in her job. A bunch of people quit at work, and now she has to work investment banker hours since they are missing have the normal team size. I realized in watching her employer push her to accept double her normal shifts that employees just don’t realize the power they have. It’s time we turned the tables on the profit focused businesses and squeeze them when the balance is in favor of the employee.
Hard Truth #1: All Your Employer Will Do for you When You Retire is Throw a Retirement Party
Unless you are a high level executive in the organization, after a few months no one at your old employer will contact you besides your friends. They will not do anything special for you. Why do employees treat their employer like a close friend when they will not return the favor?
I left my old employer about 16 months ago. They function fine without me. I was eminently replaceable, which is one reason why I felt like the job wasn’t a good one for me. If you’re easily replaceable, that means you should take every opportunity to extract value when you have the upper hand in negotiation. You can love your job. That’s fine, but it’s still business and you wouldn’t be there if you had to work for free.
Hard Truth #2: Your Employer is Desperate but Doesn’t Want You to See Blood in the Water
If you have half your team quit at an important division, be it on a factory floor, in a hospital, or on a shipyard, your employer will sweat bullets. It takes at least several months to fully train a new employee in a skilled position. At the very fastest, they need a couple months to interview candidates.
My family member has to work 70+ hour weeks instead of the typical 40. The reason: they don’t have nearly enough staff to cover. If all the employees left over in this situation realized that they controlled all the marbles, the employer would be screwed and would need to hand out pay increases and concessions.
How to Respond When a Bunch of People Quit at Work if You’re Financially Independent
If you don’t rely on your job for your financial security, having a short handed situation at work is a goldmine. You should go to your boss very respectfully and request a meeting to discuss your job status. They might think it’s another person quitting.
You go into the meeting and just say that you’ve noticed a lot of people have quit lately, and that you feel underpaid. Let them know that you would like an immediate increase in your base salary of 10%, or that you might be inclined to find other ways to spend your time. If the employer is truly short staffed, they will have no choice but to permanently increase your base salary. Since most bureaucratic employers give raises on a percentage and not absolute basis, this will increase your pay for as long as you work at the organization.
The problem with my family member is that she is very loyal to her employer despite the fact that her employer’s loyalty to her is only economic. If she did not produce value, the employer would have no problem letting her go. On the other hand, when her employer is in dire need, she is willing to work insane hours just for some overtime pay.
She is financially independent, so she could ask for so much more. If I was her, I would negotiate a pay increase, a less stressful assignment, or both. Unfortunately, they dangled a promotion interview in front of her and have delayed the process of choosing a candidate. She wants to work hard to show her value so that they choose her. However, there is strategy behind such a move. The employer thinks that if they can dangle the carrot of a supervisory position in front of 4 or 5 workers that they can get them all to work much harder. The employer has pushed back the decision date for the job several weeks and still has not made a decision. They are trying to retain power over a tenuous situation and prevent any more defections.
Ignore future promises and nice words from your boss when they have a bunch of people quit at work. If you don’t need the paycheck to live, you have all the power. Demand a higher base salary. If you need a reason, the reason can simply be “we’ve lost a lot of people in the past several months. Clearly, the pay was not enough to keep them here. Therefore, I request a pay increase for my loyal efforts.”
How to Respond When a Bunch of People Quit at Work if You’re Not Financially Independent
I would be more quiet in this scenario. However, there are still things you can do. I would started looking around for new jobs. You should interview and see if you can secure an offer. Clearly, there must be something going on or people would not be so discontent with the job to leave it.
Perhaps the working environment is fantastic but the pay is just super low. Then you should find out what you’re worth. You don’t necessarily have to leave. However, you should quietly get that offer from the other employer. Once you have it, take it to your boss and let him or her know that you intend to leave if they do not match the rate that the other employer wants to give you.
You can and should ask for a salary increase if you depend on your job for financial security. You might want to be more diplomatic about it though than if you could choose to work or not. Use your increased leverage to apply for a managerial position.
Please Do Not Let Your Employer Give You False Platitudes When You Have the Other Hand, Demand Something Tangible
Your boss likely has limited power over how good or bad your employment situation is. This is especially true if you work at a big employer. However, HR still knows that they will have a terrible time if they lose an entire department. That means your boss’s job is to convince you to stay and work hard without asking for anything extra. With that incentive, he or she will tell you little white lies. “Oh it’ll get better. Once we have the new people on board, you will certainly be in line for a managerial role in the future.”
Don’t listen to this. They might be throwing out whatever they think you want to hear to stop the bleeding of people leaving the company. Ask for more for yourself and for your family. Refuse empty promises. When you have the upper hand because a bunch of people quit at work, make sure that you get something besides overtime for working twice the number of shifts. Employees finally have leverage over employers now. I’ve seen ‘Hiring’ signs everywhere. Your employer must not overlook your options. Negotiate hard and ask for everything you want.