Why You Should Really Avoid Making That Counter Offer

Think about it: an employee successfully went through the process of finding, interviewing and accepting a new job, only to be pulled back in by the company they already committed to leaving.

Whether their reason is salary, position, a better company, or sheer boredom, there are very few instances, if any, when a counter offer should be made — or accepted.

The reality is that even if a counter offer is accepted, the employee will soon fall back into the funnel of unhappiness or doubt that originally caused them to look for a new job. More often than not, the offer just delays the inevitable.

What does a counter offer say?

  • Hey, you know what? You called our bluff! We have been underpaying you for years. You are truly worth a lot more than we are currently paying you let’s make this right.”
  • We understand your frustrations, and this $20k increase in your pay will make those frustrations disappear.”
  • Now that we have “committed” to you as a vital cog in our organizations success we expect you to up your game. You didn’t expect that $20k raise to come without more responsibilities did you? You owe us!”

What accepting a counter offer says about you

  • “For sale!”
  • “I’m going to go after whoever makes me the best deal! Their commitment to me doesn’t matter. Co-workers schmoworkers.”
  •  “I’m probably going to do it to you, too! Every day without a raise starts the clock ticking!”

 What does a counter offer tell your co-workers?

  • Wait a second – two days ago, that guy was hacked off and out the door. Now he’s walking into a big office with a bigger smile? Gee, I wonder what could have happened…”
  • The only way to get a raise around here is to threaten to leave.”
  • That guy gets $10k more than me, so shouldn’t I have to do $10k less work? Or should I just tell them I got a better offer?”

 Sounds bad? Here’s the alternative

Great employees don’t act randomly. They’re too talented, and in too much demand for that. Instead of scratching and clawing to keep them, ask yourself: “Why is this super-talented person leaving my company? And how can I stop it from happening again?”

The effects of counter-offers — even juicy ones — are temporary. Bad workplaces are much longer-term. Put the $20k to good use and invest in your current employees. Use the savings to invest in the employees that deserve to be invested in.

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Simply put: counter offers may work for professional athletes, but leave them out of the office!

This article originally appeared on The Resumator Blog.


4 Comments on “Why You Should Really Avoid Making That Counter Offer

  1. Good article Dan.  I wrote something for ERE that addressed the same issues.  Let me know what you think.   https://staging.ere.net/2011/05/24/why-you-and-your-candidates-should-never-accept-a-counteroffer/

    1.  Great Article Carol!

      Couldn’t agree more, the counter offer is something that has never made sense to me.

  2.  Yes, counter offers may work for the “BIG” talent-entertainment stars, professional athletes, etc. Never works for us working class stiffs. Make up your mind about what you want to do, then do it and don’t look back!

  3. Very good article, and it makes perfect sense!  A counter offer is usually only a band-aid solution to delay the inevitable.

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