Dangling the counter offer carrot – poisoned apple or healthy choice?

by / Wednesday, 25 April 2018 / Published in Uncategorized

Have you ever made a counter offer? Did the person accept?    |    Have you been made a counter offer? Did you take it?


counter offer magnets

It can sometimes feel as though the only way to reduce the stress is to make or accept a counter offer, dangling a carrot in front of an employee to get them to stay, just to avoid the additional time and cost of recruiting and training someone new.

Whether you are a manager or an employee, counter offers can cause more harm than good.

dangling carrot counter offer

Let’s break it down:

The employee’s point of view…

You have interviewed for a different role, perhaps with a competitor company and they offer you the job which you accept. Great. But then your current company makes you a counter offer. Perhaps it’s a £4,000 pay rise, which is very tempting and so you accept that and stay at your current company, you don’t have to learn a new role, or meet new people. But over the year, after tax, insurance, and pension contribution, that £4,000 works out to be a rather small amount.  Think back to why you started looking for a new role. Was the commute becoming unbearable? Did you counter offer traphave a bad relationship with your manager? Perhaps you felt there was no career progression. That £4,000 pay rise will only keep you in that role if money was the only problem.

Most people who accept a counter offer are looking again in 6-12 months for a new role. In fact, the figure is around 80% (National Employment Association).

That £4,000 pay rise that made you stay, has it changed anything else? Is your commute still unbearable? – yes. Is your relationship with your boss still bad? – yes. Nothing has changed apart from that pay rise. It’s 6 months down the line and you are starting to realise that the reasons that made you look for a new role are making you start to look again.

Is this making you think again about accepting a counter offer?


The companies point of view…

Your employee comes into your office, they are about to hand in their resignation, but panic starts to set in. You’ll have to find a replacement, train them, it will take time and money you don’t have. So, you take the easy method and make a counter offer to entice them to stay. It’s a good offer, you’ve succeeded, and the employee accepts and carries on working.

But, within a few months, you start to notice that that same employee isn’t working as hard as they were before your counter offer, they look miserable, other employees aren’t treating them the same and you start to worry again. A few weeks later, they hand their notice in and you are back to square one. Needing to find a new employee, 6 months down the line.

Are you starting to lean away from making counter offers?poisoned apple


These are just some of the reasons that counter offers don’t work. So before you accept or make a counter offer, have a think about the reasons they don’t work out and ask yourself if this is a poisoned apple or a healthy choice.


If you looking for a new member of staff or a new role, perhaps we can help. Why not have a look at our services page and see how we can help you. If you’d like to discuss any roles please do get in touch via our contact page.