Counter offers are flattering. Who doesn’t want to be told they’re so important that the company created a package of goodies to make that letter of resignation go away? If this happens to you, you might want to rub the pixie dust out of your eyes just long enough to consider all sides before making a decision.
69% of employees who accept a counter offer leave their employer within six months.
What Is A Counter Offer?
Here’s the dictionary geek-speak: A type of offer made in response to another offer, which was seen as unacceptable. The type of offer we’re talking about here is a common employer response when faced with an employee resignation. Let’s see how this might play out.
You’ve accepted a job offer with another company and have just handed a letter of resignation to your boss. To your surprise, he says you’re a key member of the team and asks what it would take to convince you to stay. What an ego boost. You know you’re about to receive a counter offer but what you don’t know is the conversation just stopped being all about you and is now all about the company.
Let’s put your thoughts aside for the moment and slip into the manager’s head. From the moment your boss realized you were resigning, he’s been thinking about the impact of your departure: the cost of recruiting and training a replacement, redistributing workload during the transition, the vacation schedule that took weeks to get just right, and how your leaving will affect his turnover stats and annual bonus.
Here’s something else you don’t know. Your relationship with the company just shifted. You’re no longer a loyal employee striving side-by-side with colleagues to make your current employer #1 in its sector. After all, you must have invested some pretty serious time with the other company for you both to have come to agreement on salary, title, and start date. They also know that in saying yes to the new job, you’ve begun to disengage from your current employer while forming new attachments to the other organization.
69% of employees who accept a counter offer leave their employer within six months of accepting that offer.
What Should You Do?
Your first step is to shake off the flattery and remind yourself why you wanted to leave. What has been missing for you? Will a counter offer really change the environment and position enough to suit your needs? Why did it take the very real threat of losing you for the company to see your worth? Second, what are the elements of the new job that led you to accept the offer? Does your employer’s counter offer make the new job less desirable? Make sure fear of change isn’t making it feel more comfortable to stay where you are. Third, consider that your relationship with your current employer will never be the same once you’ve accepted another offer and handed in your resignation. If you accept their counter offer, you may be viewed as someone who gave their word and then reversed it when faced with a better offer. You could even be viewed as a disengaged member of the team that they should be prepared to lose in the near future.
Above all else, think about your long-term career goals. Bill Humbert, in RecruiterGuy’s Guide To Finding A Job, warns that 69% of employees who accept a counter offer leave their employer within six months of accepting that offer. You can well imagine those employees weren’t thinking they’d just made a six-month career decision when they reneged on their new job offer in favour of staying with their current employer.
Should you accept a counter offer? There’s no single best answer that will work for everyone but examining the situation from all angles will help you make a better decision.