Would You Counter Offer When Someone Resigns?
A friend of mine resigned from his job to take a new position with another company. Interestingly, his boss immediately counter-offered with a higher salary, approved a special project my friend was pushing for, and promised other improvements. The counter-offer made my friend pause and think for a bit, but it was a little too late. This scenario has happened with a number of people I know and most of them got “upgrade” offers when they resigned.
It always makes me laugh when I hear such stories. I find it silly for a manager to make those upgrades AFTER a resignation instead of before. It just seems backwards to me.
Let me explain my logic using gardening:
I’m not a gardener, but I know gardening involves consistent care and nurturing to yield healthy plants. You have to regularly water plants, expose them to the right amount of light, ensure they get the right nutrients and have the space to grow. In the same way, you have to nurture your team and give people what they deserve when they deserve it.
Holding out on your team and reacting with a counter offer is like ignoring your garden then throwing tons of water on it when plants are about to die. You might save a few plants, but your garden will suck.
I’m not just talking about money and other extrinsic rewards in case you’re wondering. I’m talking about how you treat employees, involving them in important projects, giving them more responsibilities, developing them, acknowledging their strengths, and helping them recognize and address their weaknesses.
I am not suggesting to over do it either. Overwatering plants will actually cause more harm than good. Likewise, over-pampering your team will create a sense of entitlement and a bunch of other problems.
By rewarding employees and treating them well, you will have a clear conscience that you did your part. When that resignation comes, you can address whatever other issues behind it and learn from them. If the person expects more than s/he is worth or more than you can give, then you can focus on moving on instead. At least you can part ways without the resentment s/he might build up because you held back on him/her.
Your turn: You’re sitting across the desk from a key employee who is resigning. Do you counter offer?