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There is an old joke: "the simplest way to get a raise around here is to quit and get rehired for your old job."

Since tough times create such situations, it is important to have articles like this to prevent short-sighted knee-jerk responses that spin into chaos.

Having written quite a few articles named, "Counteroffers are Counterproductive" in The Day, I counsel against it, too. Being seen rewarding undesirable behavior (blackmailing management) simply encourages more of the same. It also activates interest among employees in collecting as many handsome offers as possible as often as possible, so they can parlay them into a big raise. That undercuts commitment, distracts attention, blackens your reputation on the street and focuses ee attention on constant alternate job-seeking rather than current job performance. Not good.

People really don't leave for money, although it is The Acceptable Reason Cited. So more money never solves the real issues. Simply letting your good worker go rather than attempting to fix cancer with a bandaid is actually the superior response. Then, you might get sufficient support to change the underlying problems that really inspired the star to leave. Buying time with cash never succeeds. You really DON'T want to know what some major employers do instead.

The successful hold-up artist never stays much longer, but the damage wreaked by counteroffers lasts forever.

My experience with employees indicate that when you counter offer they get the bitter feeling that you have been underpaid them all these while and even if they do stay on, there is already the lack of trust there and eventually they just leave anyway.

One of the things that the friendly HR can do is make sure to compare the market to the internal especially when you are recruiting for the department and on annual review. I admit that I was spoiled by the seemingly 'unlimited' budget but it's cheaper to adjust salary over 6 - 12 months to arrive to the right market rate then to be without someone for a few months and spend money on headhunters/ads/recruitment process and retraining the new candidate. We do this for technical candidate though, so support team, unless you are outstanding... you are out of luck.

You make a good point, Juliana. Often there are no winners when a counter-offer is made, only degrees of loss. Even if you REALLY NEED that employee for the next xxx number of weeks / months, the working relationship would be damaged to the extent that recovery is highly unlikely.

It can be even worse when you fall for the blackmail. Some really well known enterprises will pay the counteroffer demanded, smile sweetly, then wait until the cocky disloyal mercenary culprit's offer has expired, when their resume is no longer circulating, and then (after a carefully surrepticious search process)replace them after a public burning.

They all get their come-uppances, one way or another. Since what goes around comes around, the lesson that you don't humiliate the boss gets learned; and no dissatisfied employee thereafter ever allows word to leak that they are considering leaving, so managers find themselves suddenly abandoned without warning in the future without opportunity to prevent the quit or properly prepare for a replacement.

Counteroffers wreak havoc. They literally are a confession of error and admission of weakness. It's cheaper to have designated backups for everyone, cross-trained in advance... helps retention, too.

Really like the blog, appreciate the share!

All have made excellent points. Over the years when forced to make counteroffers I noted that what the firm got was a 3 to 6 month extension. It raises all the havoc already noted. I would offer one suggestion that worked. If you want a year from that employee offer a stay bonus instead. Then be sure to find a replacement or train a junior person to be ready to replace this employee.

I do not like counteroffers under these circumstances.

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