Counteroffers don't get employees to stay, after all
- Employees whose companies pay them to stay are gone within two years, the results of a Robert Half (RH) survey show. Researchers in the new online survey concluded that paying departing workers to stay is just a stop-gap strategy that doesn't get to the real reason they want to leave or keep them onboard for very long.
- Of the 5,500 hiring decision-makers polled, 58% said they extend counteroffers to departing employees. Senior managers said they saw employees stay an average of 1.7 years after giving them a counteroffer. The main reasons companies extend counteroffers are to prevent losing organizational information and to avoid the time and expense of replacing those who leave.
- Paul McDonald, RH's senior executive director, said he advises professionals both not to offer and not to accept counteroffers. From the employer's perspective, a counteroffer offers a quick fix for an employee who will likely still leave a while later. On the side of the employee, he or she may seem disloyal to the company after accepting a counteroffer, and it's likely the original reason for wanting to leave still exists.
Goodbyes are hard, especially when it's a valuable employee who wants to pack up and leave. An employer strapped for talent may see a counteroffer as not only a reasonable solution, but also the sole solution available — but employers must remain aware of why an employee may be leaving and seek to solve the real underlying issues.
Stay interviews can give employers a sense of the likelihood that an employee will remain on the job. A well-conducted stay interview can establish a culture of trust between an employee and a manager in addition to identifying issues before they become deal breakers. Today's employers, however, can still expect to lose a fair number of employees over time; the stigma of staying in a job only a few years has less impact on job seekers than in past years.
High retention rates count in this tight labor market, and the process of onboarding a new team member can get lengthy. Faced with the possibility of losing a worker with in-demand skills, HR managers must consider whether counteroffers really incentivize employees to stick around for a long time or if it is just a stopgap regarding the real issues.