In a highly competitive landscape where talent is the straw that stirs the drink, the truly talented are often faced with considering a counter offer from their current employer when they resign. A candidate I recently placed very aptly described the counter offer as being akin to the man who suggests counseling only after his wife asks for a divorce – if you feel so strongly about me, why does it take me potentially leaving for you to recognize and articulate how much I mean to the organization?
There exists are a myriad of reasons for why organizations counter but to me it boils down to two key factors – power and optics. Power in that an employer has lost and needs to regain it and optics as it pertains to how the organization may look upon an executive who has lost a key member of their team. In the luxury hotel world the optics also relate to the ownership group – try explaining the loss of a superstar DOSM to an owner that is reexamining the management contract. According to data compiled by the National Employment Association, 80% of Executives who accept a counter offer will not be with that organization in 12 months – are you one of the 20%?
In the search I referenced above, the candidate kept me abreast of the counter process and felt that she owed it to her current organization to hear them out – there is a psychological reaction to leaving an employer.
Make no mistake – you owe an employer nothing other than your focus and diligence while employed. Companies downsize and cut back frequently very often cutting loose loyal and committed employees – the company will often state that it was tough decision made for business reasons. Should an employee not similarly have the right to make tough decisions for personal reasons.
Your current employer is under tremendous pressure to hold on to talent – if countered remind yourself of these key points:
1. why do I have to leave to be rewarded and effusively told how much I mean to the company?
2. do they value me or do they value my position – they are two different animals. I am not replaceable, my position is. Have they downsized people at my level in other parts of the organization? Can the articulate why I mean so much to the company or are they playing upon my guilt and sense of loyalty? Are you upset that I am leaving or are you concerned about the personal ramifications my departure might have on you and the company?
3. I considered the new opportunity for many reasons – those reasons have not changed – why does a new organization quantitatively value my services more than my existing company? Nothing really changes – if in one year I am still not feeling motivated/rewarded/valued do I need to solicit another job offer to correct it?
4. What about the new employer – they have undoubtedly invested a great deal of energy, money and time in you and your candidacy. They negotiated in good faith, met your demands – do you not ethically feel committed to them?
The purpose of this note is not to influence candidates we represent – we work for our clients and as such must ensure that their best interests are kept top of mind. However, when you resign, you will be bombarded with platitudes and praise. For 80% of the workforce, those plaudits are fleeting.
Brent Billing (firstname.lastname@example.org)