I’m not a big fan of matching job offers or extending any kind of counteroffer to an existing employee, but I know the current talent market is very tight for agencies and you may feel like you have no choice but to try.
Here’s why I don’t like them. Once an employee has gone down the road of interviewing with other employers and getting an offer from one (or more) of them, they already have one foot out the door. When an employee looks elsewhere, it is rarely only about money. Usually something else is motivating them.
Employees will typically come to you after they get an offer for one of two reasons: because they feel guilty about leaving and want to soothe their conscience or because they are nervous about the unknown and want a chance to take the safer path of staying put.
The problem is that once you have gone through the process, you are already thinking about the possibilities and the greener grass you have seen. Even if your current employer matches that offer and you stay, you will spend time wondering about whether you made the right choice and continuing to dream about those other opportunities.
More often than not, when you match an employee’s offer with a new employer and they agree to stay, it is a short-term thing.
So if you decide to counter that other employer’s offer, know that it is likely a stopgap solution and you should expect to need to fill that position within the next 6-12 months anyway — so plan accordingly.
Finally, never extend an offer that doesn’t make financial sense for you and your agency. Whether it is a new employee or an attempt to retain an existing one, know how much that position is worth to your business and don’t overpay, otherwise you will end up hurting your own profitability and skewing your agency’s pay structure for years to come.