Lemon #56. When an employee gets another job offer

Lemon #56. When an gets another job offer

While reading ‘The hard thing about hard things’ from Ben Horowitz, we learned about what to do when an employee gets another job offer: 

An excellent engineer decides to leave the company because she gets a better offer. For various reasons, you were under-compensating her, but the offer from the other company pays more than any engineer in your company and the engineer in question is not your best engineer. Still, she’s working on a critical project and you cannot afford to lose her. So you match the offer. You save the project, but you pile on the debt. 

Here’s how the payment will come due:

You probably think that your counteroffer was confidential because you’d sworn her to secrecy. Let me explain why it was not. She has friends in the company. When she got the offer from the other company, she consulted with her friends. One of her best friends advised her to take the offer. When she decided to stay, she had to explain to him why she disregarded his advice or else lose personal credibility. So she told him and swore him to secrecy. He agreed to honor the secret but was incensed that she threaten to quit in order to get a proper raise. 

Furthermore, he was furious that you overcompensated her. So he told the story to a few of his friends, but kept her name confidential to preserve the secret. And now everyone in engineering knows that the best way to get a raise is to generate an offer from another company and then threaten to quit. 

It’s going to take a while to pay off that debt. 

Ben Horowitz @ The hard thing about hard things.

Jorge Moreno

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