A few years back I wrote an instruction sheet for candidates on how to look at a counter offer when they are presented with one at the resignation stage.
The content is fairly old school and you have probably seen it and said it to your candidates before, but for those of you that need a refresher or are new to the industry feel free to use and distribute it.
This always helped me with some counter offer situations but alas not all of them. Hope it works for you.
How To Deal With Counter Offers After Resigning
Now put yourself in your boss’s shoes! Resigning from your present position will have made your employer well aware that you were unhappy in your current role. Consequently, even if you accept a counter offer to stay put, your loyalty may always be in question in the future.
If you’re tempted by a counter offer, have a long hard think about what it was that made you start looking for a new position. Moving roles isn’t usually just about greater financial reward – it’s often about new challenges and increased responsibility. The reasons you had may well repeat themselves.
Think about your employer’s motivation – are they really thinking about what’s best for you – or what is best for the company? If they really valued you as an employee, wouldn’t they have offered you the package or promotion you wanted at appraisal time? Where is the money coming from now? Does it really take your resignation to make your boss pay you more money?
Consider the results of a study published in a National Newspaper. In this study, conducted over a three year period, over 50% of the individuals receiving counter offers accepted them. Within 18 months, 93% of those had left – and the remaining 7% were actively seeking new employment.
It is prudent to be suspicious of any offer that is given just because your employer is caught unaware and is feeling under pressure. Counter offers can often be used by employers as stalling devices to give ample time for a suitable replacement to be found – and yes you’be guessed it - your replacement!
Think about who you may be letting down. In business your reputation can be your most valuable asset. By backing out of a commitment to a prospective employer, you will lose a lot of respect from the firm’s leadership – a firm you may need later on in your career.
Don’t get trapped into a long drawn out discussion. Leaving the door open for discussion and negotiation induces the company to invest time and resources into enticing you to stay. This can make you feel guilty, which makes it more difficult to stick to your decision to leave.
Consider the future. The company may well pay you to stay in the short term, but you may pay a long-term price. Employers resent being held hostage by employees when the market is in their favour. A rise or promotion today may foreclose the possibility of future benefits.
If you do decide to accept a counter offer then you also have to accept that things will never be the same – colleagues may view you differently and despite what your employer is saying to you, you may not be seen as a true member of the team.
Remember that employers don’t like to be fired, some employers find it difficult when they feel that they have lost control, so ask yourself why your decision is not being accepted. People make career moves for their own reasons and not respecting your choice is the same as saying you have no right to choose to leave.