The 30 Day Counter-offer

Beware of the Buy Back

Contributed by David Peterson, Managing Partner
Direct Recruiters, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio

We’ve all heard about the immediate counter-offer made by an employer at the time a valued employee resigns. Actually, most employees expect to receive one and employers usually don’t disappoint.

However, there’s a new type of counter-offer emerging. We call it the 30-day counter-offer or “buy back”. This type of counter-offer occurs within the first 30 days on the new job. It goes something like this: Your new hire just started and is learning the ropes, i.e. adjusting to your culture, diving headfirst into the job and proving to you that hiring them was the right decision. During these early days, many new hires feel overwhelmed and develop a sense of “buyer’s remorse”. Former employers know this and many view it as an opportunity for a possible buy back.

But why would a former employer want to re-hire your new employee? Here are a few reasons:

1) Plug and Play. Rapid growth might require a former employer to recruit experienced people. And who better qualified than the person who previously held the position?

2) New Hire is Mis-Hire. Former employers usually fill the job left open by a resignation. Sometimes, a new hire turns into a mis-hire. To avoid another mismatch and the high costs associated, enticing a previous employee to return may seem feasible and attractive.

3) Wish You Were Here. Many times our value is not fully realized until we’re gone. It’s just that simple.

While it’s difficult to prevent your new employee from receiving the 30-day counter-offer, you can help minimize the chances of them leaving. Here’s how:

  • In the first few days, be ready to provide all tools and resources necessary for your new hire to be successful on the job, i.e. laptop, cell phone, PDA, etc. After all, it was the potential for success that attracted them to your company.
  • Have a welcome team in place and involve your top performers in the orientation and training process. Encourage your new hire to get to know the people and company culture. The sooner the “new kid” feeling subsides, the less likely they will leave or accept a counter-offer.
  • Deliver what you promised during the recruitment phase. Nothing is worse than changing the rules of the game after it started. Within the first 30 days, take time to review the original job description. Determine whether it is still on track. If it veered, be open to define a real-life description that you can both agree on.

If you are an employer or employee who has experienced the 30-day counter-offer, please share your story. Contact Shel Myeroff at 216-464-5570 x103 /