New Wave of Counteroffers by Julie Rupenski, President & CEO, MedBest

Retaining staff in the Senior Living industry has always been a challenge. However, 2020 proved to be more than a challenge. It was a tumultuous and traumatic year to say the least. As a result, a number of senior living organizations experienced a staff exodus.

While early 2021 brought the hopeful remedy of COVID vaccines and smoother sailing, many senior care workers are looking back and taking inventory of their employer's response to COVID; how well it was handled from the beginning, and whether their own personal sacrifices, overwhelming work schedules, and hard work were truly appreciated.

Upon assessing the 2020 situation, many senior care workers, including executives and nurse leaders, are deciding to leave for greener pastures. Thus, there's a new wave of counteroffers! Let's examine the counteroffer from both sides, the employer and employee.

As an employer, should you make a counteroffer?

  • Post-COVID, you might be facing a skills shortage and a counteroffer could remedy the situation. It could be very difficult to find and recruit a new senior care employee for the specific job and skills required.
  • You could right a wrong. Salary negotiations are difficult for most people but can be particularly difficult for women. Women are often less likely to ask for a higher salary when offered a job. A counteroffer for a woman may act as a “market correction” if she is not being paid a fair market value for her position.
  • The odds are against you. Statistics show that around 80% of people who accept counteroffers leave for a new job anyway within 12 months. Therefore, just because the offer may seem like a good option and solution at the moment, it won't guarantee they'll stay.

As an employee, should you consider or accept a counteroffer?

  • If you receive a counteroffer as a response to your resignation, your employer could be responding to the devastating events of 2020. However, that's short-term. The fact is, no matter how good your relationship is with your employer, your loyalty is likely to be questioned moving forward.
  • Chances are good that you might be leaving your job for reasons beyond money. While a counteroffer may speak to you financially, it does not change the other circumstances or underlying issues that spurred your job search in the first place.
  • Counteroffers may be a stall tactic. Often employers will pay you more or satisfy your working needs only for a short time. Then, they will start searching for your replacement.
  • If your resignation forced the hand of your employer to recognize your work and offer you more compensation or a promotion, they may feel cornered. That uncomfortable position may create a problematic and awkward working relationship moving forward.

In a post-COVID era and still a time of uncertainty, there's a myriad of reasons why an employer would make a counteroffer and reasons why an employee might accept one. Senior care organizations are astutely aware of today's intense competition for talent, and well-intentioned resignees may find themselves contemplating a counteroffer they did not expect, much less consider. However, if past history is any indication, counteroffers rarely have happy endings.


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