I Got A Counter Offer. What Do I Do Now?

By: Jill Reynolds, Quantix President and CEO

You’ve hung in there as long as you can but your current job is going nowhere. It has been several years and you feel like you could do your job in your sleep. There is no momentum or energy within your team and your manager barely has a pulse. You’ve asked you manager on many occasions if there was more you could do but he tells you “slow and steady” is how he likes to handle his department. The money is OK, the benefits meet your needs but you ask yourself, “Will I still be doing the same boring job 1, 2, 3 years from now?”  That’s it! You’ve made the decision to find a new position. Now, let’s fast forward. You’ve interviewed, done your homework on your potential employer and hooray, you received an offer. Everything looks great (the compensation and the benefits) and you feel confident about the role you will fill. You will be challenged and develop new skills; you seem to have good rapport with your new manager. This could be your dream job! Now, here comes the uncomfortable part: your resignation.

Image Credit: Synergis

Image Credit: Synergis

Tomorrow is the day. You’ve written your resignation letter and have rehearsed the speech to deliver to your boss. You tell yourself that once you’ve finished the awkward task, you’ll feel relieved and can start the anticipation of your new career. One small snag, your boss says, “The department is being revamped and we have big plans for you.” You are presented with a counter offer you never expected. What do you do now? The counter offer is more money than the offer from your potential employer and you second guess your decision to make a change. What if this new job doesn’t pan out as you’d hope? There are so many unknowns: management, coworkers, new challenges, etc. Your current job isn’t great, but at least you know the lay of the land and it feels secure.  But wait, the money isn’t what was driving the need for change in the first place. You were bored and unchallenged. Even if you stayed with your current employer, the company and management culture is still the same. You ask yourself, “If they really had big plans for me, why did it take until now for them to offer me a promotion and a raise?” 

All of these concerns and questions are valid but accepting a counter offer rarely pays off. Below are some informative statistics from a recent article in Forbes:

Counter Offer Statistics:

According to national surveys of employees that accept counter offers, 50-80% voluntarily leave their employer within six months of accepting the counter offer due to unfulfilled promises.

The majority of the balance of employees that accept counter offers involuntarily leave (terminated, fired, laid-off, etc.) their current employer within 12 months of accepting the counter offer.

Accepting a counter offer, no matter how attractive it may appear, greatly decreases the chance of maximizing your career potential.

A counter offer can be very flattering and your emotions may cause you to temporarily lose sight of your original objectives. You may second guess your decision and feel the pull of the familiar. This is exactly what your present employer hopes will happen. Here are 10 important reasons for not accepting a counter-offer:

1) When the “smoke clears” following a counter offer, all the reasons why you wanted to leave are still there! You made the decision to leave because you felt that another opportunity would better fill you career needs.

2) If you are worth more when you are leaving, why weren’t you worth more when you were staying? Where is the money for the counter offer coming from? Is it your raise early? Companies have strict wage and salary guidelines which they are not going to change just for you.

3) Your company will probably immediately start looking for your replacement at a lower salary.

4) When tough times come, your employer may begin the cutbacks with you.

5) You have now made your employer aware that you are unhappy. From now on, your loyalty may always be in question.

6) Accepting a counter offer may make you lose respect by seeming unsure and indecisive.

7) It may seem harsh, but chances are good that the reasons for a counter offer have more to do with inconvenience and avoidance of change than with your indispensability to the company.

8) Statistics show that if you accept a counter offer, the probability of voluntarily leaving in six months or being let go within one year is extremely high. By that time, this new opportunity will be only a distant memory.

9) Accepting a counter offer is most likely an emotional rather than an intellectual decision.

10) In the final analysis, a counter offer comes because of a resignation. Will you have to threaten to quit every time you want to advance within this company?

Bottom line, if you’ve taken the time to evaluate an offer of new employment and it meets your goals, go for it!

2 comments

  1. Reblogged this on careertipperblog and commented:
    Below is a good read from the blog, Quantix Corner. Ms. Reynolds gives a strong alternative perspective to how to view and address a counter offer that you may receive from you current employer at time of you submitting your resignation.

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