For weeks you’ve been battling with the decision. You’ve considered all the angles, how it will impact your family, your travel time and your career in the long run. Finally, you’ve made a decision. It feels like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders. You get up the nerve to walk into your boss’s office and resign. You are ready to move on to a job with more pay and growth prospects. Relief and excitement sets in.
Then, just when you least expect it your boss calls you back in and makes what appears to be an attractive counter offer. Confusion hits you once again, you are stuck in an uncomfortable position. The offer on the table is now more than what the new company is offering you. Should you stay or should you go?
Counter offers to employees who get job offers are becoming more common. The main reason for making a counter offer is to hold onto employees with hard-to-find skills, although for many companies it’s also about retaining long-term employees who have knowledge of the company.
The decision to accept a counter offer may be as simple as understanding its pros and cons.
So why would it be a good idea to accept a counter offer?
If your biggest consideration for searching for a new job is based on the need for a higher salary, then accepting a counter offer might be a good idea for you. If you are happy at your current company and feel challenged in your job, staying in a comfortable environment that you are familiar with at a more competitive salary is the answer for you. After all, it’s been said that changing jobs are one of the highest stressors in a person’s life.
Counter-offers can provide an opportunity for employees to voice issues about their jobs. However, many would argue that you shouldn’t have to threaten to resign for your employers to acknowledge your problems. That being said, the truth is that many employers might not be aware of your concerns and once they realise they might lose you, they are willing to accommodate your request in order to retain you.
Why do so many people recommend against accepting a counter offer?
Trust: One of the biggest concerns for many is the break in the trust relationship between you and your employer. If you were planning to resign to only accept a counter offer it will cast some doubt over your loyalty to the company. Employers will always remember your attempt to resign in the future and you will now be labelled ‘un-officially’ a risk especially when it comes to promotions.
Time: The unfortunate truth is that many companies might just be playing for time when the make a counter offer. If you accept the offer, it gives them the time to start looking for a replacement and to make the necessary contingency plans to ensure when you do resign it has minimum impact on them. Recruiters will tell you that 70 to 80 percent of people who accepted a counter offer either leaves or are let go within a year.
No Change: This is the key consideration and most important to consider with a counter offer. What are the exact reasons you decided to leave in the first place? You are frustrated in your job, don’t get along with your manager, don’t get to work on bigger projects? If you decide to stay, will any of these problems disappear? Unless you’re able to negotiate a new assignment or some changes to your current job, you will still have to deal with the same negatives.
Burning bridges: Declining an offer could damage your professional reputation. The new company went through the interview process and invested considerable time to get you on board, only to be rejected at the end. They will now have to go through the whole process again, putting you in their bad books for future opportunities.
Whatever you decide to do, accept a counter offer or stand firm and move to a new opportunity be respectful and tactful in how you deal with both your current manager and the one who is offering you a job.
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