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Counter Offers - should I use them to retain my staff?

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Article posted by Mandy Kettle

One of your best engineers resigns out of the blue, right in the middle of a critical project and they simply cannot leave. It will be catastrophic for the project.

It’s not all about the money, of course, but if you offer them a salary increase, then surely that’s a win-win?

They get a nice pay rise, and you don’t have the headache of replacing them. What could go wrong?!

What are the risks?
  • People talk and you may find yourself reviewing their peers’ salaries and benefits to match. This could snowball.

  • Others may resign to negotiate a better deal (is resigning the best way to get what you want around here!?)

  • The vast majority of people who accept a counter offer are back on the job market after a few months, so you are only saving the problem for a later date.

  • This person has invested considerable time and effort into getting another job (possibly on company time), so the loyalty and trust of their colleagues may take time to rebuild.

Many different factors can be the reasons behind someone resigning. Be it opportunities for promotion, the flexibility of working, better hours, better holidays, new boss, nicer office, lighter workload. Whatever you offer will need to be made available to all employees, or you may find yourself dealing with unhappy employees and yet more resignations.

So what’s the alternative?

Unfortunately, it’s never easy. As software specialists have a relatively short tenure the time comes when a key employee will be looking for new opportunities. There are still a few steps you can take to increase retention and find a replacement when the time comes.

Exit Interviews are the start of retaining your staff

Retaining staff starts long before a counter offer scenario occurs. The reasons people will leave your business are all areas that should have serious thought and attention put to them. This is where exit interviews become extremely important in understanding what people want from your business so that they will choose you and your mission. An exit interview should assess the overall employee experience within your organization and identify opportunities to improve retention and engagement.

Use Data

Other than asking employees at an exit interview about their experience, you can find data on the latest candidate wants and needs. A good place to start is Uniting Cloud’s Salary Guide which covers remote working, flexible working, compensation and more. You can then compare this to your current offering and establish where changes can be made.

A Recruitment Partner That Gets It

When searching for a recruitment partner, try to establish if they have built a community of professionals that you are seeking to hire. A niche recruitment partner will have access to a passive community who they regularly engage with. They will be able to source a replacement for your leavers much quicker than starting recruitment from a scratch.