Why Accepting a Counter Offer is Almost Always a Bad Idea

Posted on Tuesday, March 7, 2017 by Adrian FosterNo comments

When an employee resigns their post in any organisation it is not uncommon for that company to make a counter offer.

Statistics show that accepting a counter offer has one of two extremely high probabilities: 

1     you will leave voluntarily within a short space of time, or

2     you find that your resignation is held against you and nothing really improves

This is borne out by a recent survey by the Wall Street Journal which found that 93% of employees who accepted Counter Offers to stay with their current employer left within 18 Months anyway.

Experience has taught me there a few things you should consider at this stage:

  • Where is the money for the counter offer coming from? Is it your next raise early? All companies have strict wage and salary guidelines which must be followed.
  • The same circumstances that made you look at alternatives today will face you tomorrow. How long will the increase in money alone make up for this?
  • Be prepared for a speech from your Employer concerning loyalty and commitment.Remember the manner of your resignation will have an effect on the willingness of the Employee to give you a future reference
  • If you accept a Counter Offer it can lead to resentment from your co-workers who may realise you are on a better salary.
  • If your salary increases, will your targets and workload increase as well? 

It is a fact that 97% of people who resign, then accept a counter-offer from their current employer which encourages them retract their original resignation, will end up leaving their current employer within the following 18 months.

Ask yourself;

  • What kind of company do you work for if you have to threaten to resign before they will give you your worth?
  • If you were the manager, would you promote someone whom you perceive to have been disloyal?
  • When times get tough, who do you think they'll begin cut backs with?
  • How likely is that the same circumstances that now cause you to consider a change will repeat themselves in the future?

 So what can I expect when I tender my resignation?

You initially considered changing companies, because your present position can no longer offer the growth potential to match your experience. It is true to say that your present company has helped you progress professionally and as a result, you may feel uncomfortable resigning. You will be leaving fellow managers and colleagues. You may even see some of them out of work as social friends. These people may have been instrumental in advancing your career. All or some of the above may make you feel uneasy, however

Your company will be sorry to lose you. You have contributed to their sales and profits. You are probably involved at the moment in a project within your workplace that requires your talents. Put yourself in your boss's position. What would you do?

It is natural to resist change and disruption. Your boss will be no exception. He / She will want to keep you and will attempt to do so with a counter offer. In his / her eyes, your acceptance of a new job is definitely a mistake.

Counter Offers have many variations:

  1. “ This is confidential and I shouldn't really be telling you this, but we were looking at promoting you in the next six months."
  2. "We will match your new offer and put it into effect next pay day. I had meant to review it anyway."
  3. “ Don't make a decision now, have a think about it and we'll sit down next week and discuss it."

Implications of the Counter Offer

Of course it is flattering that your company is concerned to hear that you are leaving, so your emotions can obscure the reasons behind your decision to leave. It is natural to be apprehensive about leaving and to let that one final nagging doubt about doing the right thing grow out of proportion the more your boss tries to convince you.

Stop and ask yourself these questions:

  1.  I made the decision to leave because I felt the new position offered me the best environment to fulfil my career needs? If I stay will the situation here really improve just because I said I was leaving?
  2. If I stay will my loyalty be suspect and affect my chance for advancement once the dust has settled?
  3. This rise makes me expensive for the job position I'm in. How will that affect my future rises?
  4. I got this counter offer because I resigned ‑ will I have to do that the next time I think I'm ready for a rise or promotion?

Keep a Professional Attitude

The professional will make a career decision objectively. It will be free of the emotional pressures one is likely to feel when being urged to reconsider. Advice will be offered by well-meaning friends, relatives and business associates. Depend primarily upon your own judgement because quite simply you are the only one who can fully understand the implications.

Remember, the counter offer is only a belated recognition of the contribution you have made to your company. If it had come unprompted wouldn't that be a lot more flattering?

Move ahead with the goal of making yourself as valuable to your new employer as you know you were to your old.

prosperIS Recruitment Ltd


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