Is Counteroffer an Efficient Way to Make a Web Developer Stay?

Lia Mihut
Lia Mihut ↓ 3 minute read
Dec 13, 2017
Read 285 times

From my experience up to the present moment, I can say that counteroffers in IT are a rather successful practice for the employer. In most cases, the employee is convinced to stay after presented with a counteroffer, because it comes as a remedy for all his work related issues.

Most often, a counteroffer promises the following 3 things:

1. A new project

Getting involved in a new project is, in very many cases, exactly what the employee wanted. The prospect of engaging in a new project is very attractive to the employee, even though up until presenting his resignation there hasn’t been any discussions about one.

I have encountered cases in which the developer decided to stay because he was promised the desired project, starting in 1-2 months. Subsequently, the projects was continuously delayed or it wasn’t what he expected nor wanted. Meanwhile, the company where he wanted to join closed the position and with it the opportunity to work in a company that could offer him what he wanted.

2. A considerable salary raise

We’re talking about a 500-600 Euro raise, that a developer normally gets over 1-2 years in 2-3 salary raises. The legit question that an IT employee should ask at this point is this: If there already was a budget for a salary raise and I was entitled to it, why weren’t I offered a raise by now, before I presented my prospect of getting hired in another company?

3. Promises to solve all job dissatisfactions.

In some cases, these promises are fulfilled, but from my experience in most cases they are only presented. After resuming the conversation with the candidate 6 months or a year later, we discover that they never even brought up the issue, or the actions took were quite ineffective, just to say they have tried.

One of the most frequent techniques that a company resorts to is to appeal to the relationship built between the developer and Team Lead. The employees are begged to stay because they are needed.

This is only effective for the employees who are easily impressed and have a higher sense of engagement to their coordinator or team. Or both. In their case, the decision to stay is perceived as “one for the team” type of altruistic move, in favor of the team or the project. But this decision never brings them any direct benefits, except the appreciation and thanks of those around, whose needs they place before their own.

Our thoughts on the efficiency of counteroffers in IT

They work especially for employees who have an extrinsic motivation and perceive their position as a workplace that have in order to make money. They don’t see the job as an means for their professional and personal development.

Developer profile for whom counteroffer works

  • Age: 18-25 years old (adult age emerging)
  • Values: in accordance to the consumerism society philosophy; they are money and revenue growth oriented, and this drives their careers.
  • Goals: they want immediate solutions for their problems and look for instant gratification. This is described as the satisfactions gained by more impulsive behaviors: choosing now over tomorrow. They look for ways to solve their problems now, even if the solutions they find are not long term.

An example we have encountered in this sense is the situation when the employee is counterofferted the same salary value they have been presented by the other company, that adds a significant plus to their pay. The employee is convinced that they can enjoy the same financial benefits at their current workplace in the shortest time possible. Moreover, the advantage of staying within their comfort zone makes them accept the counteroffer.

Thus, the developer chooses to stay at the current job for a bigger salary, ignoring the fact that his reasons of dissatisfaction that led him to apply for a new job in the first place will not be solved. Shortly after adapting to the new income, all these frustrations will resurface.

Our conclusion is that accepting a counteroffer due to financial reasons will only mask the job frustrations temporarily. In other words, this will only prolong the developer’s resistance to stress factors, because he was deceived into believing the illusion that a bigger pay is the remedy for all his problems at the current workplace.

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