Counter Offers

So, you get offered a new job (congratulations!). Then your current boss gives you a counter-offer (double congratulations!). It feels great, doesn’t it? You’ve gone from a disgruntled employee who is leaving to a valuable asset that two companies are essentially fighting over.

Now, what??!

A Wall Street Journal survey recently revealed that of the 50% of employees who accepted counter-offers, 93% went on to leave their companies within 18 months. This shows that accepting a counter-offer rarely works out.

So why is it that so many people who opted to stay put, then up and left within 18 months?

For starters, you think this is just about you. Wrong! Your decision has an impact on others, for example, your boss. They have just been told you want to leave, and will immediately be thinking how does this impact on the company and most importantly me? Did they not take your concerns seriously at the last review? Did you even have a last review? Are the powers that be going to look at your boss wondering why they have not managed you properly? Therefore, is this counter-offer a knee-jerk reaction to keep you and buy management some time to process the situation? Try asking yourself this question… if you were your boss would you keep you?

There are plenty of other points to consider if you stay.

Did you go for an interview during working hours, therefore, what did you say? Dentist? Doctors? So now your honesty is under scrutiny. Did you take calls, send emails during work time.

Did you tell Carole in Accounts? So now your conviction is in question?

Did you stay because more money was on offer? If so, where has it come from and why was it not on offer before? Do your colleagues know that you have had a salary increase? They will be thrilled for you, right!? Also, at review time are you going to get another one?

Once you have decided to stay put there are still some major points to be considered for you are now a marked person!

Who was going to do your job? Was someone just waiting for you to leave in order to get your job? Trust me they’ll still want it!

There are other dynamics to consider for instance has your increase meant that others must now go without? If you are thick skinned, then this isn’t an issue but your back could be covered with imaginary daggers.

There is also the subject of loyalty. Job hunting, interviewing attendance and offer negotiation all take time, so is your company thinking that your loyalty is now questionable especially if the other offer was a competitor?

Surely not, as after all, you have deemed them worthy of your employment.

If none of the above has even entered your mind, then please consider the reasons you wanted to leave in the first place. More than likely by accepting a counter-offer it will only be a temporary fix over the real problem of why you were looking for a new job. Is anything really going to change? Do you really believe that your employer sees you as that most important of Jenga™ pieces, that if removed the whole organisation topples?

The counter-offer is not all bad. After all, why would they counter-offer if you were not worth it?

Maybe you have gained that promotion which may have been long overdue. Your company has expedited some decisions that they were planning on doing anyway. You get to stay in familiar territory and are now much more appreciated. There is genuine gratitude and relief that you stayed. Carole in Accounts keeps her friend and her workload will now not double. You have saved your company time and effort training another you. You have made them look at their procedures and reviews thus saving other staff from leaving. You have also saved them from having to recruit a placement.

Handle the counter-offer with care.

This is a situation whereby there is always going to be a loser. Don’t burn your bridges after all in 18 months-time you might be thinking like the other 93% that this was all a huge mistake. From our point of view, you were a good candidate once, you will be a good candidate again. However, did you reject the offer professionally? Keep it professional, keep all parties informed and don’t hide behind texts or emails, expectations need to be managed and if the other company liked you once they may just like you again.

Counter-offers do happen, we see them on the increase and we also see the aftermath. Don’t feel bad if you hand in your resignation and you don’t get a counter-offer.  Businesses that do not counter-offer, believe they have it right. That they have their staff on the right salaries with the right level of responsibilities and have the right review process in place. Staff leaving is just the ebb and flow of business.

So, you are thinking of leaving, why not give some thought of what you would do if you were counter-offered. Do this before you embark on your next move. It’s a scenario you could just find yourself in.

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