No company likes to lose a top performer, but when a key employee
announces his or her intention to accept an offer elsewhere, some
managers go into panic mode. This sometimes results in a counteroffer.
While losing a critical member of your team may be a setback, a
counteroffer is not likely to accomplish your goal of keeping the
person over the long term.
Here are the key reasons counteroffers are not a wise choice:
Trust may never be the same. People don't quit jobs they love. If
the employee was completely satisfied working for you, you
wouldn't now be having to discuss counteroffers. Even if you make
the requested adjustments, it may not make a difference in the long
The individual may begin to question why it took the threat of
departure for the company to recognize his or her value and make
improvements to the job. There also may be additional considerations
that can't be resolved and may cause the person to rethink the
decision to stay.
The reverse is also true. No matter how much you want to retain a key
member of your team, recognize that you may have lingering doubts
about the employee's loyalty and motivation.
Salary adjustments may be complicated. Evaluate not only the impact of
a counteroffer on your budget, but also the effect it will have on
your group. When you pay someone more than the typical salary scale,
you could disrupt your organization's compensation structure. This
could create resentment among employees who feel they were deserving
of raises or promotions but were overlooked because they did not
threaten to quit.
See resignations as a learning experience. While the loss of a
critical employee can be difficult, it also presents an opportunity to
make improvements that might benefit remaining staff. Take note of the
factors that prompted individuals to leave your organization. You may
discover that there is some consistency in the responses, helping you
identify a broader problem.