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Counter Culture

By June 18, 2021No Comments

It’s been a lively time at Rice Towers over the past couple of weeks. We’ve exposed a pantomime antagonist and been enthralled in an online witch hunt which resulted in the blog last week hitting record numbers! It was a good lesson in marketing but served as a timely reminder that LinkedIn is the land that irony forgot. It’s been pretty exciting offline too. Like most of my clients, I’m having to turn away vacancies as the ones that are live are taking up a little more of my attention than usual. We’re all drowning in roles trying to stay afloat. Thankfully, everyone is in the same boat. Industry-wide we’re dealing with heaps of demand with little supply, everyone is metaphorically grabbing buckets to bale water overboard to keep their ship afloat. What all business owner wants to avoid is a hole in the bucket i.e., an employee knocking on the door asking for 5 minutes.

But Scott, you already nailed the whole counter offer spiel back in Aug 2019 with the whimsically titled Count Eroffer? I agree a load was certainly blown content-wise in issue #27 in the series. Saying that I’ve not seen the market as shameless in its attempt to retain staff, ever. In speaking with consultants this seems to be true in their own day to day, with predictions thrown out the window at a moment’s notice. Recently, I’ve seen candidate managers who are on $65K get a $15K pay increase just for going on a couple of interviews! Go on, try it now. Get your flatmate to call your boss for a reference masquerading as a hiring manager in a competing firm. You’ll pull into the car park tomorrow to find the custodian painting the lines for your new park next to the front door previously held by the boss him/herself!

So why has it taken this long for your employers to realize how valuable you are? Perhaps on the way home after hearing the news, they stop at a red light and drift into a montage of your employment; being made fire warden for your team, the time you had the toaster oven set to bagel, forgetting it was mufty day and coming in your suit. Then a horn from the car behind snaps your manager back to reality with the epiphany; this can’t be the end, we gotta keep this going! Plausible, but I’ll tell you what’s more likely. As soon as you left your manager’s office a communiqué is sent up the totem pole. The reality of having to advertise for your role, interview, train, and pay a new member of staff sets in. The quickest elevation in your career from a financial perspective will happen then – “How much are they offering? Well, match it!” Oh, and that thing you’ve been asking for? Be it flexibility, title, later start, that’s finally given approval in no time flat!

Now, with my candidates like yours, you have to coat a bit of sugar. The fact they are getting counter offered is because they’re good, if they weren’t you/I wouldn’t be working with them. I’m always quick to point out that it’s not that they don’t deserve the increase in responsibility or salary, it’s the reason why they were given it I suggest needs a bit of probing. In our incredibly small market, there is more to it than the preservation of the status quo. There is a bit of ego-bruising involved in having an employee move to a competitor. It’s like someone leaving their partner for their twin sibling, they’re very similar but one must be more of a laugh? There is of course the obvious financial incentive to keep them put. After all, 3-6 months later you can safely assume their accounts will follow them out the door. Not only that but there’s the potential for others following them out the door, the dreaded domino effect. When the word gets out that the world isn’t flat, that there’s more out there, those conversations around the water cooler will be closely monitored.

Sometimes a consultant will take a sh*t internal job over a great agency role due to it being the path of less resistance. Not wanting to get into why one offer is better than the other or get into the murkiness of countering the offer. I can regurgitate the facts; most leave after 6months, you won’t receive another promo/bump in salary and you’ll be smirked at whenever Wondering Eye finds its way onto the playlist. It may fall on deaf ears but as recruiters, we should practice what we preach at all times. Thankfully most have the conversation upfront, just a few forget what the answer was.