counter offer - what's your next move? Your star performer walks in the door and places their resignation on your desk. Before you freak out and throw the moon at them to stay, stop and ask yourself these three key questions.


Why Do You Want Them To Stay?

Ok, you’ve fended off initial panic. So what really are you afraid of if this employee leaves?

  • I can’t afford to lose a star performer
  • It’s painful to find a replacement
  • This will make me look bad to my superiors
  • It takes a long time to train a new employee
  • I don’t trust them with competitors.

It’s important to identify why you want them to stay so that you can then determine if it warrants making a counter offer.

Why Are They Leaving?

Before you make a counter offer, do you fully understand why your star employee was driven to leave in the first place?

  • Is it a management problem?
  • Is it a compensation issue?
  • Is this the result of short-term stress or long-term problems?
  • Are there issues with coworkers and corporate culture?
  • Have the parameters of the job changed significantly?

Most of the time, compensation alone isn’t the reason for leaving a job. It’s likely your counter offer would merely be a band-aid fix to a more deep-seeded issue. Is it even possible to address the real reasons behind this person’s desire to leave?


What Are The Consequences?

Beyond the extra financial cost of a counter offer, consider all the other consequences that are involved.

  • Will you be able to trust them? Why didn’t they raise concerns with you before?
  • Will they really be committed if they choose to stay? Or continue to be a flight risk?
  • How will this affect your other staff? Will it be seen as a valid way to get a raise?


Counter offers are normally just delaying the inevitable, so think carefully about whether it’s really the smartest move. The thought of going through the process of replacing and onboarding a new hire may be daunting and exhausting; but it might be better, for both parties involved, to just part ways gracefully.


Instead, we recommend employers build an ally out of the departing employee. You never know where your former employees and colleagues will end up so nurture those relationships, wish them well and build some good business karma.