Should You Accept A Counter Offer?

Last month I offered Thomas his dream job but when he went to put in his re signation, his manager told him that he wasn’t going to accept the resignation and suggested they sit down to discuss it.

The problem was, Thomas had already made up his mind to leave. His manager was clearly upset and now Thomas found himself in a predicament. He didn’t want to leave on bad terms and he didn’t want to stay so he contacted me for guidance. This is what I told him:

“Handing in your resignation can be an uncomfortable conversation but it could become even more awkward when your boss asks you to stay”.

“Whilst it’s gratifying to feel needed, accepting a counteroffer can often be a gamble and it’s important to weigh up the risks and the benefits before entertaining the thought further”.

4 Questions to Ask Yourself

1. Why did I start looking for a new job in the first place?

Figure out what is motivating you to look elsewhere! You may feel like you’re stagnating, you may want to switch industries to follow a passion or are you simply burnt out? Perhaps you’re searching for a better company culture or workplace flexibility but either way, accepting a counteroffer could be preventing you from achieving your long-term goals or addressing underlying issues.

2. Have I already addressed the problems with my manager and tried to resolve them?

A counter offer is reactive in nature and more often than not, doesn’t resolve the underlying issues or reasons behind your resignation in the first place. If your boss comes back and offers you a promotion or better working conditions, chances are it’s not entirely in your best interest. Losing an employee creates a costly interruption to any business so ask yourself this “If they were sincere about retaining me, why didn’t they offer this to me when I addressed my concerns in the first place”? Always give your Manager the opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to you before you commence the job-hunting process!

3. How will I be perceived and treated if I decide to stay?

The unfortunate reality is that your loyalty will always be questioned. You’ve outed yourself as a flight risk to the business and the bond of trust has been broken. It’s only a matter of time until they find someone else to replace you or overlook you for future promotions and development opportunities. This is usually the time when employees who accept counteroffers end up planning their resignation for the second time. Also, think about how you will be perceived by the other organisation when you tell them you’re staying put. Perth is a small city as they say, and some industries can be even smaller! You don’t want to develop a reputation for being a serial counter-offer king/queen.

4. Which organisation can you add the most value to and which will be better for your overall career?

You have been presented with an opportunity and a fresh start. Take a step back and reflect on where you’re at in life as well as your career. For example, if you’ve been with your current employer for a number of years and you’re not planning on starting a family any time soon, it could be opportunistic to establish yourself in a new organisation before life gets even busier!

The bottom line to all of this is don’t make a game of it. Think objectively and you’ll avoid making any emotional or reactive decisions. Counter offers will make you feel like you’re in a strong position to negotiate but it’s ultimately a short-term solution and too little too late.

When it’s time to move on, it’s time to move on!

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