04 May Should you accept a counter offer?
So you’ve handed in your resignation and are ready for that new challenge ahead. But then your boss pitches you a very attractive counter offer. If you’ve been feeling undervalued and underpaid in your current job, it can seem like the perfect solution. After all, the counter offer is likely to be a generous package of increased benefits and remuneration designed to incentivise you to stay put.
But should you accept a counter offer?
Without a doubt, this single topic is a hugely argued and contentious case across all industry spheres. Ultimately it is an individual choice to make but heed this advice; consider all consequences of the counter offer before making a final decision.
Consider the underlying issues that led to your job dissatisfaction are rarely solved by a bigger pay packet. You need to consider how serious you are about leaving and whether the reasons behind your employer’s counter offer are really in your best interests.
Is the counter offer in your best interests?
Reason behind the counter offer ?
Would your employer have offered you a better package if you hadn’t handed in your notice? If the answer is “no”, then you’re more likely to regret accepting a counter offer. If you’re truly valued by your employers then that should already be expressed in fair compensation or bonuses for your efforts. A pay rise won through a counter offer can seem disappointing if your achievements haven’t previously been noticed or rewarded.
Long term trust ?
There are several important factors that you need to consider before accepting a counter offer. By looking for employment elsewhere, you’ve broken the relationship with your employer. That bond of trust can be impossible to repair and may actually put your future job security at risk. Don’t be the employee who accepts a better package only to be axed as soon as your part of the project is complete.
Internal working relationships ?
Another unintended consequence of accepting a counter offer is the effect it can have on your internal office relationships. Can you deal with the sense of entitlement others may view of you and will your peers still be happy to work with you? 80% of those who accept counter offers say their relationships with co-workers flounder and their own productivity suffers as a result. Moving on when you’ve already made the decision to do so can be the best solution all round.
Future career progression ?
Before you accept any counter offer, look at the bigger picture in terms of your career progression. Will your job title change and will you be given more responsibility? And if that’s the case, is it the outcome you wanted or can manage? If not, will you end up remaining in the same role with no prospects of promotion and actually damaging your career prospects? If you’re in a management position and tempted to use your position to leverage a counteroffer, don’t be surprised when your career stalls because you traded development for short term financial gain.
Consider your professional reputation; after successfully navigating your way through multiple interviews and securing a job offer you have no doubt earned a level of mutual respect from your future employers. To then reject the job offer based on a counter offer puts your own integrity into question in addition to creating a significant negative workload on the prospective employer to restart the hiring process. Often burnt bridges cannot easily be rebuilt at a later stage. You may have spent your career building an industry reputation to be proud of, yet this can easily be tarnished should you entertain playing two companies against each other for your own personal gain.
Look to the future
Before you accept or decline that counter offer, consider what you want your career to look like in 5 or 10 years time. If the career progression you crave isn’t on offer in your current position, it’s time to prioritise job satisfaction and long term opportunities over remuneration and move on. Statistics show the 50% of employees who accept counter-offers left the company within 12 months. This Harvard Business Review advice podcast offers further viewpoints on these delicate considerations.