July 21, 2015

Combat the counteroffer: An employer’s perspective

If you have ever been in a hiring position, imagine the following situation. You are elated because a potential candidate you have been recruiting just accepted your offer. However, a day or two passes and you receive an unexpected call: The candidate who was to join your team informs you she is staying with her current employer and accepting a counteroffer.

This story is becoming more common because today's employment market is increasingly dictated by the candidate, not the employer. Talented individuals are worth their weight in gold and employers are stepping up to the plate and retaining them with a variety of methods, ranging from loyalty and guilt to stock options and compensation increases.

Here are five helpful tips for getting your new employee to his/her first day at the office:

1. Talk to the prospective candidate about the counteroffer process; do not leave it to chance. Attempt to solicit a psychological commitment and newfound loyalty.

2. Remind the candidate of the reasons why she is looking for new employment in the first place, whether it be more responsibility, new geographical scenery, compensation, or just being valued.

3. Let the person know a lot of career moves are not about the money. Studies have shown almost 70 percent of individuals who accept a counteroffer leave their present employer within one year of acceptance.

 4. When appropriate, new employers should have their fellow associates quickly connect with the recruit to welcome them aboard after accepting the offer. Again, your goal is to establish a psychological attachment to the new workplace.

 5. Additional tactics could include sending gifts or premiums to the candidate and/or their family members including flowers, food baskets and company apparel.

No matter what strategy you use, open and honest communication is the perfect prescription to avoid the pitfalls of your new recruit accepting a counteroffer from the current employer. The acceptance of the offer is not the end of the process, it is only the beginning. Using an old track and field term, I always remind people to be sure to run through the tape, all the way to the first day on the job. 

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