Top Talent and Counter Offers

The COVID pandemic, work remote, and the latest “I quit craze” has employers sharpening their counter offer perks to hold on to top talent. What once used to be taboo in accepting a counter offer is now the new norm as is going back to your old job now known as “a returned employee.”

Add to this as the baby boom generation begins to retire and shrink. The impending crisis of the Boomers departure from the workforce will create an increase in the counter-offer scenario as employers look to be more aggressive in their effort to retain key personnel. 2022 current statistics now show there are more Millennials in the workforce than the Boomer crowd. Throw in current labor stats show there are three million fewer job seekers. Let’s not forget the latest craze of exodus en masse by simply quitting. Even Antonio Brown quit with no notice.

As the first wave of those born in 1946 begins to exit the work force in the greatest exodus ever, Human Resource managers are embarking on a mad dash to hire up. Employers’ current and future agenda will be to shore up work environments and increase stability and employee retention. Regardless of their efforts, candidates will continue to seek out and switch jobs more than ever.  The current shortage of eager applicants won’t last forever.  The counter-offer, therefore, is an increasingly accepted practice as employee retention becomes even more critical during the current candidate shortage.

Several of the biggest hurdles our recruiters deal with on a day-to-day basis as they assess candidates actual intentions are: How serious is the candidate about switching jobs, do they need to switch jobs, will they actually switch jobs if presented with a viable offer, will a change in jobs be accepted at home, who influences their decision making process, do they surround themselves with level-headed advisers, and, most importantly, are they thinking rationally or emotionally? These are all the things to consider because counter-offers can make it a roller coaster ride for everyone involved. On top of all that, some of our best recruits turn down phenomenal offers for the oddest reasons. And then some go who we never thought would.

Some things I encourage candidates to consider, if they do indeed decide to accept a counter-offer, are: they’ll typically be first out once the tide changes, a merger occurs, new management comes in, or a piece of software replaces their skills. It might take two months or two years, but it is inevitable that the same reason why they wanted to leave in the first place rears its ugly head again. I’ve always believed in not accepting a counter-offer and that’s currently out the window.  If you stand for this, you’ll stoop for that. Their boss isn’t going to change. However, what used to be a rare occurrence where a counter-offer works and the person rises in the organization is now common practice. Nevertheless, more often than not, candidates are inevitably back on the search within 6 months. The right perspective is to think rationally. At the end of the day, it typically isn’t about the money. Encourage the candidate to talk to people they respect. They’ll help them to think rationally, because once they’ve crossed the Rubicon and stated their intention to quit; they’ve shattered the confidence of their employer.

Here is what the candidate should consider: Stall tactics should open your eyes. If they didn’t take the time to recognize you in the past, they certainly won’t once the short term fix satisfies your emotions. Why all of the sudden are your frustrations curbed? It’s only a matter of time before the same problems occur. People born round don’t die square. What goes through the company’s mind when you quit? Short term knee jerk reactions typically mask a secretive long term strategy to get rid of you. Ignore the love and pampering. Where was it before? Most importantly, you will forever have removed yourself from the inner circle. Remember, your boss just isn’t going to change; it’s like yelling at a dog for barking. Keep in mind, at the end of the day, it’s not about the extra money or the promises or the sudden attention, you have to trust your instincts and leave for the right reasons, the reasons you had when you decided to leave in the first place. It hurts to leave, but in the long run, your instincts will hold you in good stead. More often than not, the company will replace you when it’s convenient for them, and you’ll be leaving anyway. One way or another, you’re gone.

*Crossing the Rubicon” is a popular idiom meaning to pass a point of no return. It refers to Caesar’s 49 BC crossing of the river, which was considered an act of war.

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