In The Workplace

One of my hardworking supervisors has submitted a resignation to accept a lucrative job offer as a department manager in a major company. He has been with us since ten years ago and is already ripe to assume a higher position in the following months. Is it a good idea to make a counter-offer so that he will not leave us? — Yellow Bell.

An elderly man lived alone near a playground. Some children would often play basketball every afternoon while the old man was trying to sleep, and he was disturbed by by the noise, including the ball rebounding off his window.

The old man offered to pay them P100 daily for their post-game refreshments on condition that they play much louder than before. The wilder, the better. He said laughter and horse-playing reminded him of youth. After three days of wild basketball, he reduced their daily allowance to P50 claiming that’s the only amount he can afford. A day later, he offered to give them only P20. One day, he announced that he can no longer afford to give them money.

Feeling cheated, the kids never played wild basketball again, to pressure the old man into restoring their allowance.

No matter how good your employee salary and benefit package is, there will always be added pressure for the organization to do just a bit more, no matter how unreasonable the demands. Things can come as a shock — imagine sitting comfortably in your office only to learn of the resignation of a valued employee.

Would you make a counter-offer to possibly reverse the resignation?

It’s a dilemma. But let me tell you this straight — don’t make that mistake! The employee has already resigned and it’s not wise to make a counter-offer. Here are the reasons why you should not prevent any worker from resigning:

One, making a counter-offer sets a bad precedent. It may embolden other people to do the same, in the hope of getting what they want. The only thing that you can do as soon as you receive a resignation letter is to advise the employee to think it over. Give him more time to reflect on his decision. But never encourage any false expectation of a better offer.

Two, you failed to anticipate his next move. It’s your fault. So why make amends by offering a new package? A counter-offer is an admission that you’ve been negligent in helping the employee succeed. If you’ve failed in that category, what makes you think you can solve the situation by making a counter-offer?

Three, a casual “stay interview” is better than an exit interview. A “stay interview” is a proactive approach that will help you take the pulse of each and every employee long before they file a resignation. Instead of the exit interview, you’re better off asking employees questions like: How can I help you succeed in this organization? What are the things you need to help you fast-track your career goals?

Four, a determined employee will leave, no matter what you do. Only the employee can decide what’s best for him, his career, and his family. There’s no point in making a counter-offer. Sure, there are many points you can invoke, such as any seniority rights the worker may have accumulated or other career opportunities. Just the same, it is only the employee who can decide if these things are important to him.

Last, leave the door open for future collaboration and cooperation. Don’t burn the bridge. Instead, pave the way for some business opportunities between your organization and the resigned employee’s new employer. However, every step of the way, never hint that the resigned employee can go back anytime when things go wrong with his new employer. This would be unfair to those who have chosen to remain loyal to your company.

When somebody resigns from your organization, it means that person has carefully weighed the pros and cons of his decision. There’s no point in interfering with that decision. You can’t do much, anyway. Instead, focus your attention on those people who have decided to stick it out with you. The best thing you can do is to promote someone from within to replace your resigned employee.

Promotion from within is an admirable management policy that you should advocate and follow strictly. Don’t even think of hiring an external candidate unless extremely necessary. Otherwise, external hiring may provoke disgruntled people into resigning. Besides, it would expose your negligence in preparing a succession plan, which includes giving people opportunities to train and perform challenging tasks.

To avoid compounding the problem, discover how you can stem the tide of resignations by conducting periodic, individual “stay interviews” with your employees. The more often you interact with people, the greater the likelihood of anticipating any resignations.


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