The Lure of the Counter Offer

Before you start reading this post, be warned: we’re having a brutal honesty moment!

Here’s the situation: you’re at the point of handing in your notice. Perhaps you’ve already done so. In the next few weeks you may receive a subsequent counter-offer from your current employer. Our advice: ignore those feelings of flattery (they’re a deception anyway) and proceed with caution.

Presumably you have reached this decision for very specific reasons. Insufficient pay, a lack of progression opportunities or challenges in your role, poor office culture, or the number one reason: a terrible manager. All are enough to push you over the edge. Ideally you will have already explored every option to rectify the situation with your current employer. After all it is 2017 – the days of management hiding away in their corner offices only to be seen at the office Christmas party or annual presentation are gone. Any significant grievances could and should have been addressed with them before now.

For most, it’s not just one “thing”. Most employees experience a combination of negative factors that lead them to this decision. So before you are tempted to accept your boss’s knee-jerk counter-offer, here’s the brutal honesty bit:

1) Accepting more money is not going to magic all those other negatives away is it?

2) You weren’t worth the extra money to your existing employer yesterday, and…

3) You still aren’t worth the extra money today (sorry). This offer is not based on your value; it is based on the inconvenience and financial implications to the business. The cost of replacing you is usually much higher than keeping you on at a slightly higher wage than before. Do you see now why those feelings of flattery are a deception?

Let’s look at it from the other side for a moment: There’s also the small matter of loyalty to your employer. Project forwards just six months. You’ve accepted their offer and remained with the business. Now, how would you compare your chances of promotion against a colleague who hasn’t already threatened to leave? Or if redundancies are required, who do you think would be first on the chopping board? Employee loyalty is a desirable and rewarded quality so here is a word of caution: if you are tempted to “hand in your notice” as a quick way to negotiate a pay rise (and get an ego boost) then forget it. Be an adult and have a proper conversation about the things that are bugging you, or get out of there. Chances are if you’re even thinking about this dodgy (and high-risk!) tactic, you’re not in the right job anyway.

There are lots of opinions on counter offers, and statistics about how long you’re likely to stay if you do accept one. One thing is certain, accepting one is rarely a good idea and when you do, there is a significant chance you will leave anyway. It may take six months or even twelve, but it will happen.

Why not stand by your convictions, make the leap today and begin a new chapter? For help with your next step get in touch with our team. You can email us or follow Ben Johnson Recruitment on LinkedIn for all the latest updates, news, and vacancies. Just click on the button below.

Image Credits: Sebastian Thibault

    Posted in - 9th November, 2017

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