Should I stay or should I go?

The topic of counter offers is an interesting one. I am sure you have seen articles and thoughts about the subject and they are usually one person’s perspective on the topic. For a somewhat different approach, we’ve reached out to people in our network to gain their thoughts and perspective on the topic.



We asked:

You have just received an offer to join a new firm. You are giving notice to leave your current position and your employer makes a “counter offer” to keep you from leaving. You start to think about whether or not to take that “counter offer.”


Not a big fan of counter-offers.  In my experience, in addition to the conscious decision to leave there is an almost subconscious detachment of the person from their current role and organization.  So even if you counter-offer to get someone to stay, a significantly high percentage of people end up leaving within a year or two anyway.

Having spent most of my career in high growth companies, if somebody is going to leave for a reason that is “counter-offerable”, they probably weren’t fully committed to your journey to begin with.

Paradoxically (perhaps), I have found that when people leave for something that turns out to be a mistake, taking them back results in a team member that more fully appreciates the opportunity so the engagement and commitment leave they come back with is that much higher.

Mark Trepanier,  Chief Operating Officer,  transformAI


For me it is about ‘why’ are they looking to leave. We had a high-potential developer communicate he was leaving last year. He was leaving to join Disney. On the surface you might say ‘wow, that’s a great company’. But he is a developer in a SaaS company leaving to join a big company to write code for internal use. Didn’t seem like the right career move. I got involved, talked to him about why he would leave / why he might stay and we created a reason for him to remain and now 8+ months later it’s been a win for both. Might he leave down the road. Sure. If he does and when he says it is time to go, I offered to connect him to every CTO I know.

There have also been other times when I have chosen to pass on a counter.  If it is just about money and it is going to raise it’s head again, I’d rather part ways now.

Jay Ackerman, President & Chief Executive Officer at Reveleer


What do counter offers tell us about the individual employment relationship?  That a counter offer is made reveals something about the employer as well as about the employee.

On the employee side, has the employee failed to effectively demonstrate his or her value to the organization?  In the current corporate world, we are each trustees of our own assets, and we have to be ready to demonstrate our current and future value to our employers.  Sometimes in the rush to make deadlines for deliverables, we fail to remind the organization how that deliverable was pulled together and the experience and care that went into it.

The first question I ask recipients of counter offers is why they resigned and if they failed to convey their restlessness and feeling that they were not valued.  If that is part of the problem, what behavioral changes will be necessary to see that it doesn’t happen again.  If it is not reasonable to expect that behavior will change, it may be wise to reject the counter offer, but doing so without changing the employee’s mind set may mean the pattern will be repeated in the new job.

Finally we should also question whether the employee failed to groom a successor and the counter is just a stop gap until a successor can be trained up or found.  If that situation exists, the long-term prospects for the employee are not great.

On the company side, counter offers frequently come about because management is not listening to its employees and pro-actively developing employees’ careers.  Again, succession planning may be faulty and that is why the counter is generated.  The immediate boss may be weak or uncaring.  Unless some organizational change is made, the employee will have the problem all over again.

Unless the root causes of the resignation and counter offer are understood, accepting a counter seldom solves any of the longer-term problems.

One exception to the balanced equation problem described above occurs when the central problem is pay.  If the employee has been straining for additional pay, and salary administration guidelines preclude a substantial increase, a counter offer with a substantial increase may be a solution that will be endure.  The employee will be satisfied in the medium term with the new number, and the company will realize that the finding, retraining and lost productivity costs entailed with a new employee exceed by far the raise that was contained in the counter offer.

Lowell Williams, Executive Director, Contingent Worker Center of Excellence at KPMG, LLC



We hope you find these perspectives interesting. If you would like to share your thoughts on this for future blogs, please let me know.


Larry Janis, Managing Partner I Integrated Search Solutions Group



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Are You Pursuing Your Vision of Career Success — or Someone Else’s?

by Laura Gassner Otting

You’ve checked all the boxes. You’ve graduated from the right college, held the right internship, flourished in the right graduate program, and landed the right job at the right company. You’ve followed the path that everyone else told you would be the one to lead to success — to your dream job — only to find that your dream job doesn’t feel so dreamy after all.

The good news is that you aren’t alone. Across each generation, the realization that success hasn’t brought with it the expected happiness has created a zeitgeist moment where conversations about purpose, fulfillment, and satisfaction reign supreme. In fact, a 2015 study by Gallup showed that only one-third of the American workforce feels actively engaged in their work.

Each generation is experiencing its own work identity crisis, trying to determine why their work isn’t working for them. Millennials — social media natives who have never lived separate lives at work and at home  —  don’t look for work-life balance, but rather work-life alignment, where they can be the same person, with the same values, at home and in the office. Boomers are turning the standard retirement age of 65 at the rate of 10,000 per day, but are not ready to put their hard-earned toolboxes on the shelf to gather dust. One-third of Americans over the age of fifty —nearly 34 million people — stated that they were seeking to fill their time with some professional (paid or unpaid) purpose beyond just the self. GenXers, finding themselves caught between raising children and nursing aging parents, are looking for work that contributes to managing these demands rather than working against them.

While these generations may differ in terms of what’s most meaningful to them, across each generation, meaning matters. Continue reading

This is what leaders need to do to prevent work-life stress from taking over

By: Tracy Brower

Leaders have a huge responsibility in contributing to work-life fulfillment, but they often forget what they can do to help employees achieve that. In a lot of work-life recommendations, we empower ourselves to balance brilliantly (despite problems with the idea of ‘balance’), find fulfillment, and seek satisfaction.

This is all good. After all, it’s essential to be empowered and make things happen for ourselves. But, in addition to individual empowerment, leaders also have a crucial role to play in creating the conditions for work-life satisfaction in their place of work.

As a leader, you should make sure that you’re fulfilled in your personal and professional life. But you also have a lot of influence to create an environment that allows for work-life fulfillment and stop work stress from taking over. Here’s how.


The first step in leading for work-life satisfaction is finding your own fulfillment and being transparent about it. Social science research tells us that humans learn through watching and emulating others. We do this both consciously and unconsciously. That means how you act and the choices you make have a powerful effect on those around you—even if that’s not your intention. Be transparent about the choices you’re making. If you’re leaving the office early to catch your daughter’s soccer game, mention it to others. If you’ll be late to the office because you have to take your new puppy to the vet, be open about your timing and the reason behind it. When you’re open and transparent about your life outside of work—and that it’s okay to have one—you’ll empower others to do the same. Continue reading

The most underused asset at work: being human

By William Arruda

I was moderating a panel on leadership for a client of mine and received the bios of the three very accomplished executive panelists. All three bios were simply a list of credentials— impressive credentials, but that was it.

There was nothing human. Nothing personal. Nothing that gave the audience any understanding of their thoughts on leadership or success. This robotic resume in prose form is all too common, and it erases our most valuable asset: our humanity. Especially in our digital world, being yourself—your unique, human self—gives you a distinctive competitive edge.

Yet somehow we have been led to believe that at work, we must diminish our humanity, behaving (and appearing) like robots who are prized for their automation and conformity. When we get to the office, we leave our true selves at the door, ramp up our “work” mindset and keep our human traits muzzled until we leave for the evening. The belief that we need to be as efficient as an LED bulb and as knowledgeable as Wikipedia, as productive as an assembly line and as human as a doorknob, might have worked in the industrial age, but we have been in the relationship economy for decades.

Today, we can’t afford to forget the one ingredient that’s essential for business success— humanity. After all, relationships are the currency of business. More than ever, business is a truly human endeavor. Continue reading

The future of work in America: People and places, today and tomorrow

By Susan Lund, James Manyika, Liz Hilton Segel, André Dua, Bryan Hancock, Scott Rutherford, and Brent Macon

The US labor market looks markedly different today than it did two decades ago. It has been reshaped by dramatic events like the Great Recession but also by a quieter ongoing evolution in the mix and location of jobs.

In the decade ahead, the next wave of automation technologies may accelerate the pace of change. Millions of jobs could be phased out even as new ones are created. More broadly, the day-to-day nature of work could change for nearly everyone as intelligent machines become fixtures in the American workplace.

Until recently, most research on the potential effects of automation, including our own, has focused on the national-level effects. Our previous work ran multiple scenarios regarding the pace and extent of adoption. In the midpoint case, our modeling shows some jobs being phased out but sufficient numbers being added at the same time to produce net positive job growth for the United States as a whole through 2030.

The day-to-day nature of work could change for nearly everyone as intelligent machines become fixtures in the American workplace. Continue reading