Making a Counteroffer to a Departing Employee

Making a Counteroffer to a Departing Employee

One of your most talented employees and valuable contributors just delivered some unfortunate news: They’ve decided to pursue an offer elsewhere and they’re ready to submit her notice. You’re approaching a busy season and you’re not sure how you’re going to manage without their presence and their efforts…So what should you do? Should you say goodbye gracefully and let them go, or should you scramble to present a counter offer that might encourage them to change their mind? Before you decide, take these considerations into account.

Counteroffers are not a permanent fix.

More than 90 percent of employees who accept a counteroffer will be gone within 18 months. There’s a simple reason for this: A departing employee isn’t just looking for more money. A salary bump may sweeten the deal, but money or no money, the employee is ready to move on. You can lure them back to the fold temporarily, but you won’t be resolving the larger issue. They need growth, change, and new challenges. They may settle for the status quo for now, but don’t expect to see them around the office in five years.

Consider the value of the next 18 months.

Again, you can lure the employee back on board for the next 18 months (on average), but will they be happy during this time? Will you? Will you trust them as much as you have in the past, knowing that their interest lies beyond these walls? And more important, will they spend this period of time phoning in their efforts while they contemplate their next move? Put yourself in their shoes and imagine what you might do during this period. Chances are, you’d lean out, not in.

Team cohesion may suffer.

When their teammates know that the employee’s future plans lie elsewhere, they may not trust them with shared responsibilities and they may not connect as deeply with them on a social level. People don’t typically invest as much emotional energy in work relationships when their teammate has one foot out the door.

Money is powerful, but its power has limits.

Research shows that counter to common wisdom, money really CAN buy happiness…but only within certain limits. Over time, the happiness boost that comes from a raise begins to fade and previous levels of reported happiness return. Your departing employee may be pleased by your offer and may feel genuinely mollified and energized by this new level of income and new acknowledgment of respect and appreciation. But again, if they aren’t happy here, more money won’t permanently solve the problem. It may be wise to let them go and make this inevitable personnel transition sooner rather than later.

Work With a Top Recruiter in Scottsdale

For more on how to hire and retain the best employees in the marketplace, turn to the staffing experts at ACCENT Hiring Group and work with a top recruiter in Scottsdale.


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