When a Counteroffer Is as Risky as a Good-bye: Answers

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Marketing Challenge: When a Counteroffer Is as Risky as a Good-bye
Marketing Challenge: When a Counteroffer Is as Risky as a Good-bye

Greg Price, cofounder & Internet marketing specialist, Oasis Web Marketing

The top three factors that contribute to employee satisfaction per the SHRM “2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement Study” are: 1) opportunities to use skills and abilities; 2) job security; and 3) compensation/pay.

Jerry just can't throw more money at Paolo because he's is leaving to take a job with increased responsibilities (to use skills and abilities). Unless Jerry knows what Paolo's career interests are and can appoint him to a position with additional responsibilities that could justify higher pay and benefits, then she should wish Paolo well and do everything to ensure that Ace remains a good client. In fact, Modesto's relationship may even be better with Paolo at Ace. 

Hopefully, Modesto has enough employees who have good client relationships that having one person leave doesn't cause other clients to jump ship. If not, Modesto should rethink its client-relationship strategy. 

Jerry also needs to identify key jobs within her organization that require succession planning and those people within the organization who have both the interest and attributes to do those jobs, so that when someone leaves another qualified employee can step right in so that clients barely notice a change.

E.D. Cormier, CEO, International Education Institute

With all the high-priced college degrees and experience, have we forgotten the value of human resources and what it costs, and the benefits of putting together a good team? Chances are that much of what Paolo learned and his business ethics, abilities, and core values—not to mention culture—came through Jerry. She should be proud that he is moving onward and upward.

James D. Zawicki, marketing communications manager, Sartomer USA LLC

It's a given that employees will come and go. Ultimately, it comes down to where Paolo would prefer to work. He didn't approach the company with a match-or-leave scenario, so it appears his mind was made up to depart. Jerry needs to graciously let him leave. Making a counteroffer and retaining him for now may be a short-term remedy for someone who has gone this far towards leaving. Plus, Jerry has to be careful not to send a message to other employees that Modesto will make counteroffers to those desiring to leave.

After wishing Paolo well in his new role and encouraging him to grow the current relationship between Ace products and Modesto, Jerry should focus on a two-prong approach: search for a standout replacement and contact customers to advise them of the change and announce Modesto's plans for a new creative director. The latter will hopefully stop clients from searching for another agency.

Ida Byrd-Hill, president, Upheaval Media Inc.

I would initiate discussions with the creative director alone, client alone, and then creative director and client jointly to determine what precipitated the offer. People move by the WIIFMP (What's In It For Me Principle.) The creative director is looking at the opportunity as satisfying his life plan. A client is looking at the in-house director as satisfying his company's growth plan. To better serve both, you need to know the creative director's life plan, the company's growth plan, and how creative director plans to achieve both. This information provides a greater insight into how to expand Modesto's services to meet both plans.

I would not present a counteroffer. However, I would make it clear that if the creative director's life plan should change, the company would welcome his return with open arms.

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