We’ve all seen it happen, one of your favourite, hard-working employees has done what you thought would never happen and handed in their notice. Most employers in this situation would have a counter offer on the table by the end of the week, trying desperately to keep a decent, hard-working member of the team from joining the competition. But is this always the right way to go? What if you took a moment to try to understand their reasons for leaving? Are they resolvable? Do they want more money? Whatever their motives are, be advised that counter-offering staff looking to leave will rarely work out the way you want it to.
When faced with the imminent departure of a much loved member of the team, most employers would jump through hoops to counter offer them into submission. All too often, the motives of the employee looking to leave are overlooked and employers focus too much on ensuring they keep their best staff, rather than ensuring they have no reasons to leave.
When faced with a resignation, engage with your employees, ask them what their reasons for wanting to leave are and decide whether or not they can be resolved instead. If your staff see you as willing to make changes in order to keep them, would they be as eager to move on elsewhere? If you feel changes could be made, suggest them without proposing a formal counter offer. You’ll earn a great deal of respect for doing so.
Will They Look To Leave Again?
Over the years, various studies have shown that employees who accept counter offers. In some cases up to 50% of them, will leave within the next 24 months anyway. When you look at the idea of counter-offering from this light, it’s safe to say that it won’t always end up with your employee sticking around as long as you might like, regardless of the offer you make. If you’ve offered them a pay rise, that equates to unnecessary outgoings for your business for whatever period of time it takes for said employee to finally jump ship. Something that could have been avoided if you had just let them go when they first produced their resignation. Heartless as it sounds, sometimes it’s just better business to cut your losses.
Beware The Dangers Of Trendsetting
If you are thinking about proposing a counter offer, another aspect to think about is how many you’ll be comfortable proposing. If word gets out that so-and-so was going to leave but was counter-offered and decided to stay, what might their colleagues think? There is always the potential that other members of staff may decide that they want to try their luck and see what they can get. This can result in some very sticky situations and is often best altogether avoided. You never know who you might end up losing if you’re not prepared to counter offer various employees who feel they should look for new employment, in the hope of receiving a similar counter offer.
All in all, counter offering is risky business and, nine times out of ten, doesn’t work to your favour. Keep these points in mind whenever you may be tempted to counter offer an employee looking for an out. You never know what may come of it. And if you would like to discuss see our other guides for employers, see the full resources section. Or, contact one the team via firstname.lastname@example.org or 0208 123 7769 for more advice.