Professionals of all ages and at all levels change jobs for a variety of reasons. Seeking a new challenge, opportunities for growth or changing to a new industry are all common reasons for transitioning to a new position. Upon resigning, leaving the company may progress smoothly for some. For others, the current employer may put up some resistance. One common tactic organizations use to prevent employees from leaving, or to buy time to find a replacement, is to present a counter offer. No matter how enticing the counter offer may seem, accepting the counteroffer is a huge mistake.
Professionals presented with a counteroffer should strongly consider the reasons the desire to leave arose in the first place. Regardless of whether the new agreement provides for a raise or a promotion or a combination of incentives, the new terms will do little to offset the underlying reasons driving the need for change. The work demands will likely remain the same even after initiating the terms of the counteroffer and potentially lead to less satisfaction overall.
An organization that offers a raise to retain an employee begs the question: Why wasn’t the employee already paid more? Workers do not suddenly become more valuable once they decide to leave. For many companies, offering a pay increase is less expensive than sourcing and hiring new talent, or it’s a temporary fix to buy time to find a replacement. In any case, a raise benefits the company more than the employee.
After accepting a counteroffer, the employee’s relationship with management changes. Company leaders are aware the person sought new employment and from then on will question the worker’s loyalty to the company. This lack of trust may mean being overlooked for promotions or other career-advancing opportunities. In turn, accepting the counteroffer could potentially hurt a young professional’s long-term career objectives.
No matter how tempting the counteroffer, accepting is never a good idea. Over time, many professionals that decide to accept the offer regret the decision within a few months. In fact, those that remain in their current positions are often less satisfied than before. Once an employee has made the decision to leave, the best course of action is to move forward without looking back.