Ask Matt: Does a Counteroffer Really Get One Any Leverage?

  • Article by: MATT KRUMRIE , Star Tribune Sales and Marketing
  • Updated: February 7, 2011 - 11:17 AM

Can today's worker use a counteroffer to get more money and if so, how does one go about it? Will a company just tell them "see you later and good luck" if one asks for more money to counter leaving for another job? Or can one legitimately get a raise this way?

Dear Matt: Can today's worker use a higher paying job offer from another company to get more money, and if so, how does one go about it? Will a company just tell you "see you later and good luck?" Or can one legitimately get a raise this way?

Matt: While employees can go to their boss to ask for a raise, it's rare. In this economy, and outside a standard annual performance/salary review period, it's unlikely a company will suddenly be able to give you more money because you are asking for it, says Lisa Frame, managing director of the Minneapolis branch of Kelly Law Registry, a direct hire, contract-to-hire consulting firm.

If you believe you are not fairly compensated for your position, do your homework before approaching your boss. Find out what the market is currently paying for your role and what that role is worth/priced within your organization. Then, if you feel your performance results are at the level that warrants better pay, develop a value proposition to share with your manager, says Frame.

Don't just come in and say, "XYZ company is paying me more money, can you match?" Include specific contributions and outcomes you have delivered that have added to the bottom line for your company, and share cost savings measures you have implemented, how you have increased sales or return on investment, and how your performance stands out in comparison to your peer group. Use facts and figures, not the threat of leaving. If they don't or can't provide a pay increase and you do leave, then you can accept the new job without coming off as threatening or damaging any relationships.

Remember this too: "What may appear to be better pay may in fact diminish in returns as you review the benefits package, commute, work hours, opportunity, room for advancement, the cost of starting over in building your reputation and where you stand in line with others in the new organization already waiting for promotion and enriching opportunities," says Frame.

If you feel you still want to give them the "give me more money or I'll leave" line, think about this: "Tread carefully if you decide to share that you have another offer," says Frame. "Even if your employer comes through for this reason, they now know that you will entertain other outside opportunities and you could be passed up for promotion down the road. Some employers are not as open-minded as others when it comes to talking about career advancement outside the company, so begin with the end in mind as to what you truly wish to accomplish."

Do you have an employment related or job search question for Matt? E-mail him today at askmatt@startribune.com.

All responses will be in the paper and no names will be used to protect your privacy.

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