How to resist a counter offer from your current employer

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You’ve spent months hitting those targets, winning that business and working late to keep everything running smoothly. You took pride in your work and achievements but what did you get back for it? ‘It’s your job’ type feedback and asking for any kind of pay-rise seemed more far- fetched than Donald Trump welcoming a flock of migrants to his house for tea.

Instead of battling to make your voice heard to make some kind of progression, you decide it’s time to pick up your self-esteem and take it someplace else where it can heal and prosper. You nailed the interview with that forward thinking organisation and accepted a fantastic offer paying 10% more than your current employer. Halleluiah.

You have just handed in your letter of resignation to your unappreciative manager. Your level of self worth has rocketed despite your fists being a bit clammy and your heart thumping just a little harder in your chest. Your manager takes one look at it, looks at you (cue, gulping action) and politely asks to see you again in a couple of hours in his office.

Two jittery hours later, you walk into his office. Armed with a list of reasons and valid points you have prepared, to justify leaving your current position. Your manager listens, and listens and listens. You feel as though you are being heard for the first time in a very long time. It feels good. It feels honest.

Unbelievably, your manager begins to nod his head and agree with the points you are making. It’s like some kind of twilight universe. He begins to ask you how long you have been feeling like this with a real look of concern on his face. He begins to apologise for the unfortunate situation. He might not be such a dragon after all, he might even be vulnerable, just like me.

An hour later, you find yourself in a strange position. Your manager has laid his cards on the table, told you how much he values you, explains why he was not able to give a pay rise earlier and has decided to offer you a promotion to manage your area with a 20% pay rise. He has given you until the end of the day to think about it. Crikey, its already 1.30pm.

It’s a really good offer. Plus you already have the business you have won, your team know you well, you are comfortable with how the company operates. Could this be the answer to your prayers?

Consider these points:

1) Remember the REAL reasons you wanted to leave in the first place

Everyone has different reasons for wanting to leave their employer. If money and a promotion are the SOLE reasons why you wanted to move in the first place, you are probably better off staying put.

In our experience, more often than not, the underlying reasons run deeper than this. The company culture of refusing to give a ‘pat on the back’ for hard work, the lack of incentive to progress up the career ladder, the unspoken rules for staying in favour of the manager. These intangible but very valid reasons are the ones that make you want to stay in bed an extra 10 minutes rather than jumping out to catch the early train to get to work.

Anyone with half an ounce of common sense will tell you, these things are very unlikely to CHANGE. In fact, in our last 10 years of data, almost 80% of candidates that accept a counter offer leave the company within 6 months of first accepting it. Speaks for itself right?

2) Your loyalty will always be in question from this point onwards

The cat is now out of the bag kids. Your manager knows that you did not have the companies best interests at heart whilst you were nipping out on your lunch break and interviewing with their competitors. The trust has been shaken and things are unlikely to ever be quite the same (although you didn’t like the ‘same’ in the first place) again. Don’t be surprised if your manager is already lining up your replacement and is getting ready to get rid of you if you ‘underperform’ in your new promotion with that big, fat salary he is having to fork out.

3) Have a think about what the new organisation could offer you

It’s always a little bit daunting when moving jobs. It’s a risky situation and in most cases humans tend to be risk averse. We take solace in our comfort zones even if the comfort zones aren’t actually all that comfortable. Be aware that it’s unfair on you for your current employer to put your back up against the wall and make you decide what to do with your life within a few hours time. You are also being unfair to the new organisation who have likely to have spent months meeting you, showing you around, answering your questions, formulating a suitable offer etc if you (are forced) to make your decision so quickly.

Be strong and if necessary ask for more time not only to consider the counter offer but to reflect and even speak to the new organisation again. You could be honest and explain that you have had a counter offer and they should be happy to reiterate what they can offer you if they are a forward thinking organisation. The type of organisation that values open communication and professionalism. The type of organisation you wanted to work for in the first place.

Conclusion

Receiving a counter offer from your current employer may be flattering.

When deciding whether to accept a counter offer, set aside the feelings of flattery and rewind your thoughts to the beginning of the search process. Remind yourself why you decided to look for another job in the first place.

Have a good think about the consequences you may have to face after revealing that you wanted to leave your current employer.

Finally, think about the potential growth you could achieve if you do make the move and accept your job offer. Change is life after all.

Could you resist a counter offer?

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