When the supply of talent tightens, it’s not uncommon for some employees to test the market. Sometimes they find another job and come back to management to break the news. Do you make a counter offer? Let’s check in with Joe and Wanda to get their thoughts?
Joe Kerr: Hey, if the person’s a dog she gets shown the door. If she’s a keeper, I do what I can to convince her to stay. If that includes a bump in pay, so be it. After all, people are our most important asset, right? We need to take care of the top performers.
Wanda B. Goode: Counter offers can cause some problems. Countering implies that you’ve been underpaying the employee for a while. After all, only the threat of leaving brought about the salary action. The person may feel good at first that companies are fighting over her, but that can be short lived. Second, word of the dealings can get back to others, and that can open a whole new can of worms.
I try to avoid countering. It’s better to care for the person all along. If the person is unhappy, that should have been known and action(s) should have been taken to attempt to address. If legitimate business conditions prevent paying a person her worth, that should have already been communicated, and unless their has been a very sudden change of fortune, there should be no extra money lying around to pay out. Sure the person leaves, but she does so on good terms, and as a result, might return some day.