Things to consider if you are made a counter-offer
Picture the scene. You've been working at a company for a few years now - you've got some decent experience under your belt, but you get the feeling that you've gone pretty much as far as you can. You're starting to feel a little bored - selling the same products to largely the same clients - and you want to feel tested again. To top it off, you've pretty much peaked out on your earnings now, and you know that there are a few guys ahead of you in the pecking order should a promotion become available.
After looking around - possibly on your own, or possibly using recruitment consultants- you find a role at another company. The boss was really impressed with you, the company ethos matches your own, you'll have a better chance of promotion and the money is better too! You accept the role, and hand in your notice - at which point your old boss makes you a counter offer, offering you more money to try and get you to stay.
What would you do?
Well, you've got two options.
Either accept the counter offer, feel great over the weekend knowing that you're getting paid more money for doing arguably the same job. But then consider, you'll be back in work on Monday morning at the same time, sitting at the same desk, picking up the same phone and speaking to the same clients selling the same products. Now ask yourself: how would I feel? Do those same irritations that led me to look for a new job still linger? Have my career prospects been dramatically improved or are those same few others still ahead of you in the promotion queue?
Option 2 is to move jobs and once that decision is made, stick to it. New opportunity, new people to meet, new culture, new products, new things to learn and by learning you will be benefiting from developing. It's proven that Grade A talent is not just motivated by money, but by personal and professional development and this comes from learning.
The fact is that counter-offers very rarely work in the long run - they are a sticking plaster that covers up long-term issues with a short-term solution.
Being made a counter-offer is certainly good for the ego - who doesn't want to have two companies fighting over their services? However, you really need to think about the motivations behind the offer - and when you consider them, it starts to become clear that the counter-offer is never going to provide the answers you are looking for.
Firstly, you've only been given a counter-offer because you have resigned! If you were that highly rated by your boss, why does it take your resignation to prompt them to value you more highly? It's a reaction from your boss, and their motivations may not even be as transparent as you'd think either - for example, they might just be thinking about the cost and inconvenience of replacing you, or having to justify high staff turnover to the board of directors.
Secondly, the core reasons behind your decision have probably not been addressed. Every day I sit opposite people who are looking for new jobs, and their reasons are never entirely financial. Salary is a important part of any job package, obviously, but there will be lots of other things behind your decision. No chance of promotion, perhaps you don't click with your boss or the rest of your team. You might be bored with the company in general, and need the buzz of a totally fresh challenge, new clients, and new products to sell. Whatever the reasons were behind your decision to look elsewhere, they probably won't be solved by simply throwing a bit of extra cash at the problem.
The third thing to bear in mind is your longer-term prospects if you DO stay. You've already demonstrated to your boss that you've been looking elsewhere for a new role, so they are probably less likely to promote you than they were previously, in case you leave again. They might even make efforts to sideline/replace you slowly but surely, making you even less happy than you were to start with. Furthermore, your new pay increase might just end up being your next pay rise, delivered early. You may find yourself no better off, even financially, within a few months!
The simple facts are that less than 10% of those who accept counter-offers are still around a year down the line. The reasons that led to you deciding to job hunt are very valid ones, so look forward to the next stage of your career, rather than clinging to the last one. It is perfectly natural to feel anxious about leaving somewhere familiar, but that's precisely why counter-offers are often accepted only for the person to regret it further down the line.
As such, try to avoid any confusion by submitting your resignation in writing, rather than attending a meeting with your boss where the outcome may not be clear and you may be talked out of it by some good old-fashioned emotional blackmail. Focus on your new company and your new opportunity, but don't disclose details. If your boss asks how much more you are being paid think very carefully before answering. If you disclose another company's pay structure or benefits package, it not only makes you look unprofessional, it could also really annoy your new employers before you've even set foot through the door!
It also doesn't do your reputation within the industry much good either - accepting job offers and then deciding to stay put doesn't make you seem like a particularly strong and reliable individual - and don't forget that such information could eventually make its way back to your clients.
That said, our approach is very much about empowering you to make the best decision for you - for some people, accepting a counter-offer works out brilliantly and does actually work. We just try to make sure that you take those decisions in full knowledge of all the pros and cons...
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