counter offer decisionWhy do some colleagues get one and others do not? Is it luck or timing?

Hopefully this post will go beyond the obvious “you will likely leave in 6 months upon accepting a counter offer” and “your boss will not promote you to higher roles in the future because you threatened to leave!”

The “counter offer” happens when the employment market hardens. HR policies are consequently impacted and there are clear issues in trying to hire skilled workers, experience or expertise.

It is easy to see the competition between companies and, in some cases, the impact upon business, profit or projects.

Internally, many organisations can clearly see an identifiable financial cost. It is a time to act differently, to reach into the drawer and to play the “counter offer” joker card.

Any “counter offer” needs thought and needs to be understood.  So what has to be considered?

A current or existing employer can evaluate what they know about an employee, make a judgement call based on the quality of their work, past experiences and knowledge from team or colleague comparisons. A “counter offer” situation helps the current employer who has the confidence to take action to retain good staff for potentially on a longer term basis.

For the person receiving one, rarely is there a guarantee of future promotion, leadership or other longer-term position with greater responsibilities. In many cases, the offer simply addresses a short-term company business need.

The competing company, who had engaged with the potential new employee, conducted interviews and reviewed the potential new employee against others to rank their skills and competencies are not losers either. They made a decision to hire in a short time window believing they were acquiring an assured quality worker. The action of making a counter offer simply helps them to confirm this fact. It also acts as a “talent sourcing lead”.  In other words, there must be more than one qualified staff member working at the same company.

They now know more about your colleagues, plus more importantly, have had confirmed in their minds, right or wrong, that some workers are performing at higher levels but not being promoted nor being valued or paid correctly. It explains why a number of employees leave one company to join another, sometimes in groups and not just one at a time.

Workers know that because even though their colleague accepted a counter offer, they themselves are not likely to receive the same offer, nor get an interim salary uplift.

Not everyone who subsequently puts in their notice will receive a “counter offer”. Nor do they hope for one.

Many make it known they do not want the burden of additional productivity, the extra work outputs nor do they want to experience the changes in behaviour when staying on after a counter offer has been accepted . Instead, they realise that it may possibly lead to having a target placed upon your back.

Worse, accepting one could open the floodgates to a raid by the rejected employer.  They now know that a pool of quality potential employees exist, well trained, slightly underpaid and not regarded worthy or ready for promotion by their current employer.

This is why a “counter offer” requires special consideration by both sides.  It is used as and when required because fundamentally, if you are an employee, you are no more than a replaceable asset, leased by the company at a cost to generate a return over time.

How else do you explain it? It is also a reason why many large companies have existed for hundreds of years and people have come and gone.