Job counter offers don’t tend to work. Either they’re declined, or perhaps accepted but the employee doesn’t remain very long after. While there are exceptions, they’re the minority, and they may not be worthwhile in the big picture. For an employer to even consider them as part of their overall retention strategy, the key is having a job counter offer strategy in place long before you need to put it into practice.
It’s also important to recognize that the root of the problem may not be money – even when that is what it looks like on the surface. For a counter offer to have a chance, it will need to address the root problem, which may not be pay at all.
In a recent BLR webinar, Chuck Csizmar told us why he thinks job counter offers are rarely a good strategy, and lent his expertise after the webinar to answer participant questions. Those questions are recapped here.
Q. Do you think it’s a good idea to get proof of the competitive offer?
A. That’s an interesting question. First of all, you have to reflect on who you’re dealing with – the personality of the employee who’s just resigned – and gauge what their reaction might be to the request for proof. If you think for a minute that they’re faking the resignation, in my view it pretty much says it all regarding who you’re dealing with.
Unless your back is truly to the wall, I wouldn’t go down that road with them at all in that case. My suggestion would be, under normal circumstances, not to ask for proof. At this point it’s kind of an honor game.
Q. Can you give an example of when a job counter offer actually worked? If it was not about money, what was changed?
A. It could be a situation where the employee has an aspect of the job that is creating issues. For example, perhaps an employee is traveling a lot and it is creating issues at home. In this case, a change in the job such that the job requires less travel could be a solution – and it doesn’t even require a pay raise. In this instance, the employer could alter the job in such a fashion that the issue is resolved and the employee is not lost over something that can be changed.
The key is to know what the employee is truly dissatisfied about. Have you spoken with him or her? Do you know what is going on? In this example it was actually a quick fix in relative terms. The employer certainly didn’t want to lose the employee over travel – but the situation had gotten so bad for the employee they felt the need to leave.
For more information on job counter offer considerations, order the webinar recording of "When and How to Counteroffer: Keys to Effective Retention When Employees Threaten to Leave." To register for a future webinar, visit http://catalog.blr.com/audio.
Chuck Csizmar is a Global Compensation Consultant and the founder and principal of CMC Compensation Group, a professional services provider specializing in analytic, project management, and consultative services for US and international clients.