Things to consider before making a counter offer



When a valued employee hands in their notice your first thought may we be “what am I going to do now?” Finding a replacement costs time and money and then there is the cost of on-boarding. It is much easier to just keep the person that you have in place so should you make a counter offer? Statistics vary (as statistics often do) but almost every survey says that upwards of 80% of people who accept a counter offer will still leave within 6 months. That is assuming of course that they are willing to accept the offer in the first place.


Don’t just automatically offer more money and hope that will make them stay. In my experience there are three categories of reasons why someone leaves;

  • A change in circumstances making it impossible to do the role (ie moving house, significant change in hours etc),
  • Things that can be changed (salary, job title, training etc.) Note of caution here; I have known people to secure a job offer without any intention of taking the role, they just wanted to use it as leverage in their existing role,
  • Things that cannot be changed (the team, the commute etc.),

If it is due to 1 or 3 then a counter offer would be pointless. It is only if something can be changed that a counter offer may work.


Some things that are typically offered;

  • More money – Where will this come from? Will it mean they will still be entitled to any future company pay rises or are they effectively getting that early?
  • Training – Is there a genuine business need for the requested training? How will it be paid for?
  • Job Title – Will a title bump actually mean any change in responsibilities or is it effectively an empty title change? Will a promotion also mean more money? How will the rest of the team feel about these changes?
  • Change in working pattern such as remote working or reduced hours – How will this affect the rest of the team and is it logistically possible? If remote working is being requested are you confident the person will be self-disciplined enough?
  • Lastly, will you actually be able to deliver what has been offered? It is one thing to sit in a meeting and dish out empty promises. If you fail to deliver then the person will leave anyway


Things you should consider before making an offer

  • Do you actually want the person to stay? Their resignation may well be your get out of jail free card
  • Should have made the changes before? If so, be genuine and explain the reasons why you haven’t. You may well be able to persuade them to give you a second chance.
  • Are you just trying to make them stay until you can find a replacement? Is there someone in-house who could already step into the role?
  • Given the likelihood they will leave within 12 months anyway, are you able to succession plan whilst they are in-situ?
  • Will it make you question their commitment to the role? (The answer is “probably”)
  • Can you give them everything they want and do you want to?
  • If you suspect they are just using the offer as leverage do you want to continue employing someone like that? If not, then call their bluff
  • How will the rest of the team feel about the counter offer being made?


A counter offer is usually just delaying the inevitable but there may be a sound business case for making one. If you do, it’s probably a good idea to keep you eyes open for a suitable replacement.



Victoria Watkins is Office Manager here at Corriculo Ltd. After working as a Recruitment Consultant for 5 years she moved to Office Management for an IT consultancy 6 years ago. Victoria was one of the first members of our team and deals with all of our administration and accounts. Connect with her on LinkedInTwitter or Google+


Photo credit – Chris Hamby on Flickr