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Counter-offers only a ‘quick fix’ Back  
Counter-offers rarely convince Irish employees to remain at a company, according to a recent survey by Robert Walters. In fact, 57 per cent would immediately reject one.
The use of counter-offers to try and retain staff who wish to leave a firm has a very low rate of success in Ireland, and even in cases where it does succeed, it is only a short term solution. According to a survey by recruitment consultants Robert Walters, over half of employees with immediately reject a counter-offer, and those who do accept feel that working relationships break down in the 12 months following acceptance of a counter-offer.

Employees have revealed that when it comes to considering a counter-offer from their current employer, only 5 per cent would accept the offer immediately. The results of the global survey also showed that 24 per cent of employees would reject the offer immediately, whilst 71 per cent would consider the offer before making their decision.

The statistics found in the survey are in agreement with on the research done on the subject.. The National Business Employment Weekly reports that four out of five people who accept counter-offers are gone within the year.

When a want-away employee is offered a counter-offer, they are often likely to wonder where the offer is coming from. Often, the feeling can be that this improved offer may simply be the next raise or promotion in advance. This leaves the employee feeling that the only way to make progress at the firm is to make their employer aware of their intentions to leave.

Gemma Allen, professional services director for Robert Walters in Dublin, commented that the results show that employees are aware of the dangers of accepting a counter offer. ‘Once someone has made the decision to seriously look elsewhere for employment, it is likely the working relationship will dissolve within 12 months if they do decide to accept the offer and stay,’ she said.

‘The reason is twofold; the bond of trust between a candidate and their employer or manager may have been damaged which can also lead to distrust or lower team morale, and unless other retention strategies are in place it is unlikely that a financial incentive alone will remedy all the reasons an employee had for leaving in the first place,’ continued Allen.

Retaining, rather than recruiting, valued employees is one of the key challenges facing firms, but counter-offers are rarely a successful strategy to achieve this goal, said Allen. ‘Amidst the pressures of a tight candidate market, retaining the best talent is an ongoing challenge for business. However both employers and employees should understand that counter-offers are one of the least successful retention strategies.’

Another reason for an employee to refuse that counter offer is the possibility of a new job elsewhere. Just as there are reasons for leaving one’s current company, an employee may have seen significant opportunities at a prospective new employer. These enhancements do not disappear the moment a counter-offer is tabled.

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