Why not to accept a counter offer...

Why not to accept a counter offer...
Article contributed by Michael Phillips
Written on 04 May 2016

Over 70% of employees that accept a counter offer from their employer will leave that company within 12 months. Fact. This can be because they eventually decide to make the jump themselves or can even be pushed out.

So you have made the executive decision that you are going to look for a new role, which is not a decision that one takes lightly.There can be many factors : Salary is the obvious one, lack of career progression, no professional development or training, the size of the organisation, the management team (or one individual!) and high staff turnover to name a few. Having conducted a secretive and thorough job search, you are made an offer for your dream job and couldn’t be happier! The final stage of the process is to look your manager in the eye and say those words “I am handing in my notice…”

In a final, often desperate, attempt to make you reconsider your resignation and stay in a role that you want to leave, your manager may present you with a counter offer. Usually this comes in the form of a pay rise, promotion, added responsibilities, more holidays or other benefits. Some may also play their trump card : the “Guilt Trip” - How can you leave us? We have worked together for years! What about your colleagues and friends? You are an integral part of this company and I see you as a future leader!

While some of these incentives may seem flattering, or the feeling of guilt may be overwhelming, ask yourself a couple of simple questions:

  • Why are these incentives only coming to light now? - It should make you think why you were not valuable enough to the firm before - coming in every day, busting a gut and getting very little reward.
  • Management often see an increase in pay or throwing added benefits to you as a cheaper and easier alternative to replacing your position in the firm. It causes them more headaches so don’t think for one minute that they are worrying about your career aspirations.
  • If you stay, will things really improve? - Probably not. Things are very unlikely to change simply because your manager makes a last ditch promise in order to force you to stay. Even a bump in pay cannot paper over the cracks forever. In fact, things can often get a whole lot worse...
  • The trust and loyalty to the business and your manager is now gone. In the long term, there are likely to be feelings of resentment and suspicion from both parties. Are you going to be seriously considered to work on a major project, client or for a promotion after you have tried to dump them previously?

If you accept a counter offer, the final result with almost always be the same. You will end up leaving the firm. The short term benefits will quickly fade and you will find yourself in the same position that you were in at the start of the process, however your reputation with your own firm and the market will be diminished.

My professional and friendly advice:

Trust your own judgement. You have made the decision to progress your career by moving firms and you have made that decision for a reason, so stick with it.

Go into your resignation meeting with a clear head, know that a counter offer is likely and politely decline. Try not to burn any bridges as it is a small world out there.  

Walker Andersen - It's all about time