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Let us Talk About Counter Offers (Baby)
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When you decide to leave the company you work for, you should expect two things.

1) a massive goodbye cake and 2) a counter offer to try and keep you.

NOTE:   If you accept a counter offer, you probably won’t get the cake

It’s common to receive a counter offer either at the time you hand in your notice or during the notice period itself. But what does that mean for your decision to leave and should it stop you from moving on?

You should think carefully and be sure you have considered all your options. (Unless you are leaving to become a professional Kitten cuddler in which case absolutely nothing should stand in your way.) When it comes down to it, only you can make this choice but to try to help, we’ve made a list of the things you should think about:

Did you do it for the money?

If your resignation was purely a salary negotiation tool then congratulations, the money is yours! This is not a tactic we would recommend as you risk failing to win a counter offer and having to actually resign when you don’t want to. There are other, safer ways of getting a salary review… like just asking for one. If this is what it takes to be paid what you’re worth, you should ask yourself if this is somewhere you want to be.

If your resignation wasn’t all about money then you need to work out what else is on offer. Consider this; “What can the company do to reassure me that things will be different?” and “What would need to change for me to be happy?”

The truth is that the same circumstances that made you to consider a change will repeat themselves in the future and you need to decide whether more money is enough to make it ok this time around.

Do you care about job security?

In an ideal world a retracted resignation could just be swept under the rug and nothing would change. But, once you’ve quit, it’s out there and you can’t take it back. The fact that you handed in your notice marks you out as different from the rest of the team; your boss knows you were willing to leave and that means you have the potential to do it again.

Statistics show the probability of voluntarily leaving within 6 months of accepting a counter offer is extremely high – around 85%. The same probability exists for employees being let go within 1 year of accepting a counter offer so keep that in mind before you turn down the chance to move on.

Unfortunately, your company will probably start looking for your replacement (at a cheaper price) before you see the return of your increased salary.

Do you want to burn bridges in your industry?

You accepted an offer to work elsewhere. That means your new employer will have said no to others and stopped the recruitment drive. They put their faith in you and, as kindly as you try to deliver the news, they will be disappointed (and likely annoyed) when you tell them you’ve changed your mind.

If you truly believe that staying in your current role is the best thing for you, then you will need to accept the possibility that you will not be offered the chance to work with that business again in future. – to avoid making enemies, try to give as much notice as possible. If you can help it, don’t wait until the day before you’re due to start before you tell them it won’t be happening!

Can you trust that promises will be kept?

If your decision to leave was about more than just money then staying means you’ll need assurances that your issues can and will be resolved. This could be attitudes or policies surrounding progression, availability of training, working conditions or any number of things, but here’s the tricky part; you have to be sure you trust that the changes promised will really happen and, crucially, you must be certain that your job is safe should you stay.

Can your employer deliver your personal career plan?

When it comes down to it, you have to decide whether the offer solves the problems that drove you to resign. With a few unfortunate exceptions, the decision to move to a new company should have little to do with ill feeling toward your current employer, and everything to do with personal growth. The most likely reason for you to have accepted a new role elsewhere is that you considered it to be the right step to take your career in the direction you want.

Before you accept a counter offer, sit down and ask yourself what you want out of life and what you want from your career. (Deep) Be honest with yourself about what you need to do and where you need to be to achieve your goals. This is by far the most important thing to consider and should be the key influence on your decision.