“I’ll meet that and raise you”

Do you play or do you fold? The art of the counter-offer.
By Michael Stern
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 10/02/2001

Friday afternoon. Everything under control. You’re just about to leave for home to spend a quiet, stress-free weekend with your family. Then it happens. The CEO storms into your office in a panic. A key executive has just told him that she’s leaving. A terrific opportunity has come up, out of nowhere, and it’s too hard to turn down. She starts in three weeks. “Put something together that will get her to stay,” shouts the CEO.

Here is the dilemma: as head of HR do you recommend a big salary increase? A retention bonus? A promotion? Or, do you hold your ground and suggest to the CEO that a counter-offer might not be the best thing to do?

There may be a real temptation to do whatever is necessary to hold on to key human resources. But, is that the best solution in the long run? It is not surprising that companies would try to hold on to their best and brightest.