Horizon Search Inc.
Finding the Talent You Need at the Pace You Demand

Refundable Sign-On Bonuses

There aren’t many feelings worse than being left “standing at the altar,”.  The business equivalent of this is when you have a seemingly committed new hire who backs out at the eleventh hour.

The first strategy to prevent this is to get your new hires on-board in two weeks after giving notice. However, sometimes they want more time, a month or longer. After all, they’re committed to projects, feel a certain sense of loyalty, and don’t want to leave on bad terms.

A lot can go wrong in a month that can leave you “standing at the altar.” The candidate may:

  • Become fearful of change,
  • Receive offers from other companies,
  • Experience personal life changes,
  • Accept a counteroffer, and more.

To help you prevent these problems, nurture your relationships with new candidates and help them reset their priorities. Work to transfer their loyalty to your company by letting them know – and feel – that they are needed.

A good tool to consider that can help maintain their forward momentum for the move is to give them a refundable sign-on bonus before their start date. If the candidate fails to start the job, the money must be paid back.

This cash-in-hand serves several purposes.

  • It makes it easier to turn down other offers, including counteroffers from their current employer.
  • It’s also likely that they’ll do a little bragging about their bonus, and that increases their social investment in your company.
  • The bonus is a tangible expression of your company’s desire to have the new hires on board and that will help build loyalty.
  • There’s also a chance they’ll spend the bonus before the official hire date, a major financial deterrent to backing out.

By keeping the transition period minimized, establishing a relationship with your new hires, and using a sign-on bonus when you sense it may be necessary, you can avoid much of the difficulties that occur when a candidate backs out.