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Countering the Counter Offer - How Competitive Employers Win

Thwarting counter offers is all too common these days. After all, there are more jobs available than good people to hire. Nothing is worse than landing the perfect candidate only to have them snatched back away at the last minute. Because no matter how strong your offer is, existing employers will try and beat it.

Make no mistake - today’s economy is geared toward employees. For the first time since the Department of Labor began keeping records, job openings exceed the number of people looking for work. As an employer, that means hiring (and keeping) top talent must be a priority.

Packaging companies and recruiters should expect to have these tough conversations. Because when another company faces losing an all-star, they’ll do everything within their power to keep them. Whether that be more money, responsibility, or freedom.

Unfortunately, what’s offered is rarely in the employees’ best interest – but instead – is designed to save face or avoid having to find a replacement.

A Strong Offense Defends Against Counter Offers

If you truly want to secure top talent, you must develop an “all-in” mindset. One of going above and beyond in what is expected or even imagined. If you’re a hiring company, that means structuring your offers in a way that combats pushback.

Or else you risk a counter offer unraveling all the hard work you’ve done.  

For instance, should a counter offer arise, ask the candidate for specifics regarding their concerns. Don’t just take “there’s nothing you can do about it” for an answer. Dig deep and uncover the true reasons why they would consider staying at a place they were ready to leave yesterday.

No matter how strongly packaging executives feel about an impasse, there’s always a solution to the problem.

Whether it be increased money, benefits, flexibility, or anything in-between. It’s your job to find out what that solution is - and then decide if it’s worth the price. Keep in mind that, as a new employer, it’s not just about matching salaries. Your offer must be competitive on all levels – perks, benefits, and everything in-between.


On the flip side, companies that retain great talent usually have a common methodology - they’re proactive about keeping good people around. Every stakeholder involved works together to send a unified message - contributions are valued and each team member is appreciated.

Everyone from the front desk receptionist all the way up to executive management needs to be onboard. Ensuring that your packaging executives have the resources they need to do their jobs and are recognized early and often for success.  

Studies show that people typically leave their jobs because (a) they feel unappreciated (b) underutilized or (c) have poor relationships with management. If you can negate any of these problems ahead of time, you greatly reduce your risk of dealing with counter offers in the first place.

Transitioning Between Jobs - Where Counter Offers Are Born

Many packaging companies assume that after a candidate says yes, the recruiting race is over. Yet, nothing could be further from the truth. The real work starts the day they accept your offer.

For this is the most dangerous time of the entire hiring process.

The gap between resignation and starting the new job is when doubt creeps in. Candidates wonder, “Am I making the right choice? Should I stay where I’m at and try and work it out? Perhaps, think it over a little longer - just to be sure.”

As the hiring company, understand that existing employers will stop at nothing to change a candidate’s mind. Telling them they’re making a “big mistake”, that the new company is “all wrong” for them, or “why give up on all the hard work and time you have invested here”.

This period is also nerve-wracking for recruiters as there are so many unknown forces working behind the scenes. The rule here is to over-communicate and constantly reassure the candidate of their decision.  

Once a new hire accepts your offer, find out the date they plan to resign. Then talk to them that day (and every few days after) to reinforce their decision. Don’t let them get too far inside their own heads or allow their coworkers to talk them out of a great opportunity.

Take it a step further and encourage higher-ups to connect with your new packaging executive. Make team members feel welcome and wanted. A strong sense of enthusiasm from a new employer goes a long way towards fending off possible counter offers.  

Beyond The Hire - Continuing The Momentum

Employers often forget that once the new hire starts there’s still work to be done. Selling your packaging company goes from recruitment to resignation through start date and beyond. After all, why go through the trouble of sourcing top talent if you can’t keep them around?

Retention efforts are important and a proven strategy to thwart counter offers.

Once the candidate says yes, invest in your new hire immediately. Preferably, before they even start.

Remain in contact throughout the duration – letting candidates know that you understand what they’re going through and that you’re available to help. Allow them to voice their concerns and express their anxiety. Share your experiences with similar events.

Most of all, keep selling them on the fact that they’ve made the right choice.

Don’t forget that little things make a difference too. Order business cards and have them waiting when they arrive. Get insurance set up for them and their families. Assist with travel arrangements and book training classes so they can hit the ground running.

Whatever you can do to keep new hires committed/engaged reduces their risk of backing out.

Once again, this is a team effort. It can’t just be about the recruiter and hiring manager – every stakeholder in the hiring process should be involved.

Like it or not - it’s a new world when it comes to recruiting great talent. If you want to cross the finish line, your entire organization must present a united front.

Conclusion


Although the thought of a counter offer makes some employers cringe, these scenarios can prove useful. For a healthy back and forth exchange indicates that a new hire (or current employee) is likely a good one. The type of packaging executive with the skills and experience necessary to make an impact.

In such instances, don’t be afraid to stick your neck out for the right talent. Because if you don’t someone else will.

Just be sure to take care of them afterward. Give them everything they deserve and all they need to accomplish their mission. Otherwise, you may soon find yourself starting back at square one.

And no one likes being there.


What strategies does your organization use to manage counter offers?

Leave a comment below and let us know!

Together- We Succeed!
Chase & Associates


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