Over 70% of employees that accept a counteroffer 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 anyone 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 as a whole, or one individual, and high staff turnover to name a few. But you have made up your mind, and, 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 counteroffer. 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 so many years! What about your colleagues and friends? You are an integral part of this company and I see you as a future leader!
1: While some of these incentives may be flattering and/or the feeling of guilt 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 beforehand. Coming in every day, busting a gut and getting little reward.
Management often sees an increase in pay or throwing added benefits to you as a cheaper and easier alternative to replacing your position in the company. You leaving can cause more headaches than increasing your pay/cache, so don’t overthink their concern for your career aspirations.
2: If you stay, will things really improve?
Probably not. Things are very unlikely to change simply because your manager is forced to make a last-ditch effort to keep you in place. 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 are 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 counteroffer, 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, the reasons you decided to leave in the first place will still be there, only amplified, but unfortunately, your reputation with your own firm and the market will be diminished.
To be honest, if your company were truly a great company to work with they should know better than to make the counteroffer, but instead wish you the best in your new venture.
My professional and friendly advice on a counteroffer:
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. Trust your judgement.
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.
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