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How to make a counter offer when an Employee hands their notice in

Kate Allen, Executive Chair and Marketing Director, Allen Associates

When a talented member of your team tells you their intention to leave, it can come as a bit of a blow. After all, there’s a good chance you’ve dedicated significant time into building a positive culture that people want to be part of – what’s more, your vision of success likely involved the Employee in question.

Of course, it’s unrealistic to think every Employee will stay with your company for the duration of their career. Nevertheless, learning that you might be losing a key member of your team in the very near future certainly puts a spanner in the works – especially if they’ve been made an enticing offer by a competitor.

If you are eager to keep them on board, an attractive counter offer might convince them to change their mind – but be warned, the last thing you want to do is set a precedent for the rest of your staff. Tactically navigating negotiations and selling the proposition aren’t tasks that many Employers enjoy, but they can certainly be facilitated by the following tips:

Make it meaningful

If the Employee has spent enough time with the business for you to have an understanding of what motivates them and what they will prioritise from a potential Employer, this information should be used to fuel the counter-offer. While they may have divulged information about their ideal role and personal requirements during the interview with the competitor, you are uniquely placed to devise a meaningful counter-offer that meets the individual needs of your Employee. If they have expressed frustration at the daily commute, for example, you might build in flexibility to your proposition. Alternatively, you might meet their eagerness to climb the career ladder with an offer that prioritises training and development opportunities.

Know your enemy

As crucial as it may be to understand the Employee, performing due diligence on the company trying to poach them can be just as pivotal in crafting a convincing counter-offer. Knowing their size, status, strengths and weaknesses will allow you to take a strategic approach; the information you gain can enable you to offer your Employee certain perks or benefits you know that your competitor may not be able to provide. If, for example, they are leaving the company to join an ambitious start-up, salary or career progression could swing their decision if they know the other company won’t be able to match it.

Just ask

While using the insight you have on an Employee to build a meaningful counter-offer you think will meet their needs can be effective, your first step should always be to ask your Employee what they’re missing from their current role. That isn’t to say you should accept every demand they make, but you should be willing to listen to their frustrations and understand what lead them to applying for a new job. Not only will this serve as valuable feedback in itself, it can allow you to retain a talented Employee by getting to the bottom of why they want to leave and finding a way to remedy it.

Money talks

Having browsed the market, gone to interviews and succeeded in securing a potential new role, your Employee will know their worth. With an ongoing skills shortage, scrimping on remuneration is a sure-fire way to see a drain in your workforce – after all, you can’t expect the best Candidates to stay in an underpaid role when they know they could be making more. In time, you may be perfectly able to replace the Employee: it’s up to you to weigh up the costs of recruitment and disruption to operations against their long-term salary demands. If they have repeatedly proved invaluable to the business and you know for certain that your competitor will benefit significantly from their skills, you might not want to take the risk.

If your counter-offer is unsuccessful, linking up with a specialist Recruiter can allow you to replace your Employee with minimal time and fuss. Get in touch with our team today.

Over the last 20 years, we have grown as a business to become one of the leading independent Recruitment agencies in Oxfordshire, and in 2018 have opened our first London office, to service Clients in the capital.

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