A Counter Offer is an offer from your current employer to match or better the one you have received. The goal is to make you change your mind and stay. Counter offers can be increases in salary (usually to beat your offer), enhancing or giving you new and better benefits, or even giving you different responsibilities or a bigger job title.
Receiving a Counter Offer is extremely flattering. It appears that the company values you. That is why they are also so confusing to handle, particularly if you have worked for a company for some time. You are severing links with a job that you are comfortable with and people that you have built up a bond of trust, comradeship and in many cases friendship with. It is natural to be worried and have doubts but do not let your boss use these worries, doubts, or heart strings to manipulate you.
Often a Counter Offer will start with the exploration of your reasons for leaving. They will move on to want to know your new salary, package, responsibilities and working arrangements. This is so that your company can put together their proposal. Prepare for your decisions to be examined, re-examined and questioned. You will probably see your Reasons for Leaving defeated, your earnings potential with the company laid out and the career path that you could have had, if only you stayed put with them mapped out for you.
Be prepared to meet people in the company that you have never dreamt of meeting – companies often wheel out the big board directors to tell you what an asset you are to the firm.
The fact remains that Counter Offers are happening more and more often yet statistics prove time and again that people who accept counter offers are only deferring their problems – they end up leaving within a year to six months anyway. Sometimes it can be right to stay but these occasions are incredibly few and far between, and if you have thought things through at the beginning, nothing will have changed.
Despite how flattering it is to receive a Counter Offer, logically of course, there is more to it. It is far easier and cheaper for the company to keep hold of you than to face just some of the example reasons below:
- You are good at your job – it will be hard to find someone to replace you who will be as productive or effective
- They probably don’t have the time to recruit someone at the moment
- They will have to get someone to cover for you until they find a replacement
- The company will have to pay a fee to a recruiter – several thousand pounds, at least!
- They will have to train them up
- Losing staff disrupts the department and reflects badly on the management
There is very rarely a good reason to accept a Counter Offer. If you thought through moving jobs at the beginning, re-affirmed your feelings at resignation stage and are having doubts now, what has really changed? Here are some reasons for not accepting a Counter Offer:
- Your bond of trust with your company is broken – from here on in your loyalty will always be in doubt – a day off sick or on holiday and you will be considered “on interview”. The company is also unlikely to promote you any further if they cannot trust you.
- Where is the money for the Counter Offer coming from? Is it this year’s rise early? If you have been given a substantial rise why were the firm paying you so poorly in the first place?
- The Management will resent having had to pay you out and you are unlikely to get a positive pay rise from here on. It is most likely they will start hunting around for someone cheaper, ready to replace you.
- The real problem will not have gone away. In three months time everything will have cooled off and the same feelings you had at the beginning of the process will resurface.
- Accepting a Counter Offer is the company’s way of buying your dreams from you. You have effectively been bought off.
- Should the company ever need to trim back, your name will most likely be at the top of the list.
- Most people leave within six to twelve months of accepting a Counter Offer anyway.