What you need to know about counter offers

It’s a simple fact that counter offers rarely work out. Let us guide you through...

It’s a simple fact that counter offers rarely work out. Let us guide you through the decision-making process…

Dissatisfied with your current lot, you decide that the grass is greener elsewhere. You’ve set your trusted recruiter on the case, attended a few interviews and been offered an exciting new position. With a strong offer on the table it’s time to let your boss know that you plan to leave your current position. Always be prepared for the possibility that they may make you a counter offer. Having invested in your training and development and with concerns about how quick, easy or expensive it will be to replace you, they may decide that it would be very much in their interest to make you an offer that would change your mind. More money? Extra training? A promotion? Flexible working? Their offer may be an attractive one. However counter offers are often too good to be true.

Firstly, try not to be flattered or blinded by the attention. Be prepared for the discussion; you want to be cool-headed enough to ask the right questions and give a sensible response. If this is something you would consider, do check that the offer extends beyond a pay rise. Verify any further training on offer and gain agreement on any discussions regarding career prospects.

However tempting the offer may be, our advice is to not accept it on the spot. Either politely and respectfully decline or ask for time to think it over. If you’re considering accepting the offer, ensure you get a copy of it in writing. But try not to forget what made you leave in the first place. If there was a lack of transparency or commitment to change before you laid your cards on the table, how likely is it that there will be follow-through on any new promises that have been made?

Before you accept a counter-offer, be aware that if you do:

  • You may lose your employer’s trust. By making your employer aware that you are unhappy, they are likely to question your loyalty from hereon in. Also, by accepting a counteroffer, you have shown yourself to be comfortable breaking a commitment to your prospective new employer.
  • If word of your threat to leave gets out, your commitment may be questioned and your relationship with your colleagues negatively affected.
  • When your boss is considering staff for a promotion, you may be overlooked.
  • You shouldn’t expect to receive a further pay rise for the foreseeable – a counter offer is effectively a raise in advance.
  • Your company may immediately start looking for a replacement person at a lower salary than they have offered you.
  • The same circumstances that have caused you to consider a change may well repeat themselves in the future.

It’s well known that if you accept a counter offer, it is very likely you will leave voluntarily in six months or be let go in the next twelve. Whilst on rare occasions, counter offers can work out, ask yourself: do you really want to work for someone that will only acknowledge your worth when you threaten to leave?