Great question, Gina. I have a client grappling with this question currently so it has been on my mind. There are a lot of factors to consider. Here are a few:
– culture/ climate (trust/ respect level, transparency, history of how employees are treated (layoffs, promotions, etc.), leader capabilities
– length of transition/ integration period
– current job market for skills these employees possess. Are the bonuses large enough to sustain a job search period?
– other assistance / elements of the eventual severance package. Can you help them find new employment?
I think what can be challenging is employees may begin some level of job search while still employed and working on the transition/ integration. If they land a job they may have the difficult challenge of weighing guaranteed employment in the future vs. guaranteed cash in the future. If the numbers are right, they may still leave. Perhaps in the end the decision is an expression of the organization’s values and culture. What action speaks to who the organization is?