5 Ways to Weather the Counteroffer

exchange moneyEmployees are wielding some negotiating power again as the economy strengthens and employers ramp up hiring.

It’s the return of the counteroffer — and it’s driving some employers nuts.

Machinists, maintenance technicians, IT workers and quality engineers, to name a few, have been in higher demand during the past 18 months. And it’s sparked bidding wars among employers, in some cases.

That’s good for the employee, but not always good for the employer who is faced with hiking salaries, increasing perks — or both — to keep or hire talent. Especially smaller to mid-size companies competing against large, Fortune 500 companies.

So what’s an employer to do when an employee it wants is being wooed by another company?

  • First, have multiple people interview the employee. Does everyone come away with a similar assessment?
  • Size up potential employees holistically: Will they fit in well with your company culture and staff?Are they a team player? Do they have the needed skills and personality to do the job? Do they care about money only or the total package being offered?
  • Consider making an offer that’s not solely tied to higher pay. Can you offer advancement, added flexibility, more vacation?

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And if you’re trying to keep an existing employee:

  • Assess whether it’s only money that’s motivating him or her. If it is, chances are the employee is likely to jump at the next better offer that comes along.
  • And like with a new employee, consider making a counteroffer that’s not solely tied to higher pay. Can you offer advancement, added flexibility, more vacation?

Talking about “fit” is key. Fit includes the environment, culture, values and opportunities within the organization.
If an employee “fits” in your company — works well with others, assimilates to the culture — that might be the intangible benefit that persuades him to stay.

What a candidate is looking for in a fit is just as important as what the company is looking for. An employee can have all the skills but if he doesn’t fit, it’s unlikely to last.

With baby boomers retiring and the economy picking up, it looks like counteroffers are here to stay for awhile.

MORE: The New Age of Recruiting

Aaron Grossman

Aaron Grossman
Aaron Grossman is president of Alliance Solutions Group.

Aaron Grossman

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