For years, I’ve read numerous articles offering advice for candidates when they received a counteroffer from their current employer. Overwhelmingly, these articles strike fear and seem to relay the same message – it’s career suicide to accept a counteroffer and accepting a counteroffer is just setting yourself up to be laid off in a few months when your employer finds a suitable replacement for you. Sure, that thought would make anyone second guess taking a counteroffer, but is it true? I’ve seen pie charts and graphs visually depicting that 99% of employees who frantically accept counteroffers will be back on the street, eating a nice slice of humble pie & looking for a new job in less than 6 months. Really? Is that really the case? Who is the person tallying this leaked confidential information – I think we need to check their credentials!
If you dig a little deeper, most of these articles are written by folks in my very own industry.
I’m not saying their points are completely off, some of them are extremely valid, I just know there is another agenda supporting their story. It’s a very tough pill to swallow for a recruiter when they lose a placement because of a counter offer – believe me, I’ve been there. However, what everyone seems to miss about dreaded counteroffers is who they really hurt the most. Counteroffers are much worse for employers to give than for employees to accept. Counteroffers come with a pay increase for the employee who lacks loyalty, notwithstanding a shiny new ego, plus an immediate backlash among loyal employees and it certainly creates a toxic environment. Is that employee really so important that you must keep them? Is anyone really that important? To throw money at anyone to make them stay in a job is demeaning, shows poor judgement, exudes laziness and sets the tone for others to use as a ploy to get their own pay increases. Bottom-line, if you find yourself giving a counteroffer to a once trusted employee then there are many other issues that should be taking priority. Two of the top reasons for candidates to look for new work is lack of career progression and different ideology than their current management – the same management that approves the counteroffer. There are certainly employee development & performance management issues that you should be addressing.
The job market is better now than it has been in over 5 years.
There are very strong candidates applying to roles, looking for fresh starts. It’s time companies really consider establishing a “No Counteroffers” policy as a business practice. Your employees that are grateful for their job and love being a part of your team will thank you. I think it’s time to update the handbook.
What are your feelings on a “No Counteroffer” policy?
Brian Englebert is the Managing Partner & Founder of Niagara Partners, Inc – a New York City Executive Recruiting firm located downtown on Wall Street in New York City’s Financial District.