The Unkind Truth About Counter-Offers
So, you’ve signed the Letter of Offer with your Dream Company and you’ve informed your Bosses about it. Naturally, they’re unhappy and try their best to retain you. This may come in the form of a salary increase, a fancier title, a promotion, or even the corner office with a view – all in a desperate attempt to keep you on their team.
The big question we always get is, “Should I accept the Counter-offer?” Here are some uncomfortable truths you need to consider before you accept their counter offer.
1. Does your company really treasure your services or are they buying time before they get a replacement for you?
Often, the counter-offer serves as a ‘delay tactic’ for companies to stall you until a replacement can be found.
Once you have signaled your intention to leave, you are a ‘known flight-risk’ and a liability to their operations, and the gears to getting your replacement will start moving.
Because it takes roughly six months to get a new person on board, they still need you for now, hence the counter-offer is being made.
We have seen far too many candidates naively fall prey to this tactic only to be fired six months down the road when their replacement arrives.
2. Why does the company only give you a raise when you threaten to resign?
Are they really being sincere?
Most counter-offers that I have seen have been anywhere from a 10% to 20% increase in earnings. Even though this is enticing think about it…
“Why weren’t you worth that much to them yesterday?”
Will you have to repeat the threat every time there is a salary review meeting for the rest of your career? What type of company do you work for if they only give you what you are worth when you threaten to resign?
3. If you accept the counter-offer, how will you be perceived in the organization?
Your bosses will still think of you as a flight-risk; your colleagues may paint you as an attention seeking pariah and your reputation and personal pride will take a blow because truth be told, you were bought.
Accepting a counter-offer hints that you were not really looking for a job in the first place but that you were simply itching for a raise. Once the word gets out, the relationship that you now enjoy with your co-workers will never be the same. You will lose the personal satisfaction of peer group acceptance.
4. Are you aware of the real risk of accepting a counter-offer?
Anecdotal evidence suggests that those who do usually end up leaving the company within six months either on their own free will or are replaced and fired. What’s the worst that could happen to you then (besides being unemployed)?
When it comes to that stage, you have effectively burnt your bridges with both your employer (you left them after you accepted the counter-offer!) as well as the company which you turned down (you reneged on their Letter of Appointment!).
Both would hesitate to rehire you for a very long time and given the speed at which news travels, your competitors’ HR departments could learn of this and might even issue a ‘do-not-hire’ warning to their line managers against your profile.
So, the harsh reality is, accepting a counter-offer from your employers carries a lot of risk.
Our frank advice is to make up your mind 100% before signing the Letter of Offer, commit yourself to the move, then deciding to make an unshakeable decision to notify your bosses that you are leaving.
If Salary is truly the Real Reason why you’re leaving, read this article on identifying the root causes of Salary Misery and how you can resolve it.
Have a Great Career Ahead!