Should I Make a Counter Offer?

by Evil HR Lady on February 19, 2013

Dear Evil HR Lady,

My operations manager just came to me and said she has a new job offer–at a 10 percent increase in salary. I cannot afford to lose this person right now, as we’re stretched pretty thin. It will take me at least six months to find, hire, and train a new person in this job.

How do I make a counter offer that will entice her to stay?

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

JC February 19, 2013 at 11:35 pm

Average time a person stays after a counter offer is 17 months, last I read. Neither party seems to ever trust each other again. And, it becomes about money, not the job or company……dangerous ice

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Tanya February 20, 2013 at 2:00 am

I agree that if an employee is actively looking for another job they are probably not happy where they are at. But sometimes it is about the almighty dollar signs and the employee just doesn’t weigh the pros & cons of leaving their current job. We are in an area where there is some high paying (seasonal) industry jobs. It is very tempting to many of the younger staff to leave their full time, stable job, with benefits and other perks, for a job that pays them a couple bucks more an hour. I probably get at least 30% coming back within the first 4 months after leaving asking for their old job back. $2/hour may seem like a whole lot (yes some pay higher, but many of the seasonal companies don’t offer benefits, etc.), but that only adds $160.00 to your biweekly paycheck and after taxes it won’t seem like alot.

With the number of employees we have, it would cause a fire storm if we were to counter offer in order to keep someone. The person would be resented and their could be other staff threatening to quit just to get a raise. If you treat people with respect, treat them well, give them some flexibility and good perks, and pay them what they are worth then you will have a good chance of holding on to them. The others though, well they just have to figure it out for themselves.

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Charles February 23, 2013 at 10:13 pm

Further, it should be added that no manager should ever have the attitude “we cannot afford to lose this person.”

If that really was the case why wasn’t the OP more pro-active about it?

Why didn’t the OP makes plans for “what if our Operations Manager gets hit by a bus tomorrow? How will we handle things?”

Seriously, I remember one job I had while in college, I used to get reports from various companies to complie into industry statistics. This was back in the days when even faxing was “oh, so modern” that I used to do the spreadsheet with a number 2 pencil,a large paper spreadsheet, and an adding machine. Yes, I said paper, pencil, and an adding machine. So, it was urgent that I get the reports on time to get the data together for the monthly Industry report sent out to all participating companies.

Some companies I had to call every month to remind them to send in the report, while others were always on time.

One day I had to call one of the always-on-time companies. The woman who answered the phone was rather distraught and very apologetic – she would get the manager for me. He also apologized for not sending in the report. It turns out the guy who used to do the monthly report died suddenly, and, as the manager said to me ” we have no idea what he used to do. We are still trying to figure it all out.”

So, the lesson I learned was “always be prepared.” (actually, I learned that in the Boy Scouts, but, learned in college that it really does apply to the work world as well.)

Managers should always be prepared for someone, anyone, leaving at anytime.

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