Do you take the counter – offer?

Google again.

Today Google is reported as having made one of the most astounding counter offers on record.  Facebook had allegedly been courting heavily the services of a key staff engineer at Google. Google responded by offering  $3.5 million in restricted stock.  That is stock worth $3.5 million based on its value today.  How could you possibly turn that down?  It depends what is on offer on the other side of the fence.  On this occasion Facebook lost and this Staff Engineer decided to stay put.

The counter offer makes for an interesting debate.  Every situation is different, every employee has a different set of motivations and reasons for turning up to work each day.  I would always counsel caution with respect to accepting a counter offer.  What is it that you are doing today in your job that is so much more valuable today from that which you were doing yesterday?   Why are you suddenly worth so much more?

It is not because your employer thinks you are great that they are offering more money to stay.   It is entirely in the employers interests to keep you, for now.  It is cheaper for the employer to offer you an incentive to stay than it is to go out in to the market and hire someone else.   They are buying your loyalty in the short-term.

If you resign from your job to move to another company and you are counter offered by your employer (hugely flattering though this is) be prepared to ask them what has changed.   Why are you today suddenly worth more than you were worth yesterday?

The reason that you were prepared to resign from your employer is, rarely, solely down to money.  Nice for sure, but it is just papering over the cracks.  The reasons that you were considering a move in the first place, unless addressed, will re – surface, eventually.

What about the relationship with your employer.  Will they ever really trust you again in the same way?  What about the relationship with your colleagues?  Why is this Staff Engineer suddenly worth so much more than the person sitting next to him?  How does that impact staff morale?

Somebody somewhere in Palo Alto is a much wealthier person today.   Good for them.  However at what price? (well clearly $3.5m!) How an earth can he consider leaving again?  If he resigns in future, how will Google respond?  Offer him more?

Word is out at Google, resign and make yourself rich.  Not a smart move from a company that until now would appear to have been full of them.


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Filed under Employee Engagement, Remuneration

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