The Counter-offer conundrum | Part 1.

#Help & Advice

Part 1 | The business perspective

The UK employment market has faced a lot of turbulence over recent years. From mass layoffs to mass hires, ‘the great resignation’ to an economic crash. Businesses owners and leaders have had so much to contend with over the past 3 years and the everchanging demands of managing a workforce has been a huge part of that.

The initial reaction to receiving a resignation you weren’t expecting from a valued employee can often be “what can I do to retain you”. In fact, more than 50% of employees who resign are presented with a counteroffer (which is also why it’s SO important to put your best foot forward when making employment offers to new employees. The days of negotiating and ‘seeing what you can get them for’ are over!).

But there is a staggering pattern between employees who accept a counteroffer and those who go on to leave within a short timeframe thereafter, usually within 6-12 months!

Does that mean you shouldn’t counteroffer as a business? Not necessarily. The key if you decide to present a counteroffer to an employee is to listen, truly listen, and react. A counteroffer shouldn’t just be throwing more money at your employee or giving them a flash new title. Those elements can be important, but you need to establish why it’s necessary in the first place and react to those factors.

Let’s take a deeper look…
❌ Promoting an employee because they feel their career has stagnated, but not backfilled their original role, in fact meaning the person now has a higher workload
✔️ Work on a collaborative plan to enhance an employee's role and potentially those around them at the same time to open up new challenges for your entire team, increasing engagement along the way

❌ Giving an employee a pay rise because they feel overworked for the money they are on
✔️ Understand how the employee has got to the point they feel overworked. What can you do to ease the pressure and/or offer more support

❌ Increase their holiday allowance because they want more flexibility or time
✔️ Look into how the business can better work towards integrating with employees home-lives and offer a genuine level of flexibility which goes beyond needing to introduce new benefits or incentives

These are just some top-level examples of the dos and don’ts surrounding how to make a counteroffer work for your business. If your initial reaction is to panic and offer more money to employees who resign, you perhaps already recognise there’s more work that needs to be done surrounding employee engagement and wellbeing in your workforce. That doesn’t mean you have a bad business, with how much the last few years have thrown at us all it is so incredibly challenging to keep up with demands and new market trends! What’s important is that you take the time to listen and react in a proactive manner, which could prevent the need for any counteroffers at all!

Get in touch for consultative support on navigating the world of employee retention and engagement.


Becki Hume