The Truth About Counteroffers
You’ve interviewed for a position with a new company. The company likes you!-and makes you an offer. You analyze everything: career development, growth potential, salary, benefits, and intangibles. After some thought, you decide to accept the offer.
What happens next?
You attempt to resign from your current company. Oops! It doesn’t go as smoothly as you planned. Your boss is upset about losing you and presents you with a counteroffer. A counteroffer is an attempt by your current company to persuade you to stay.
“Where’s the Restroom?” Syndrome
No doubt about it: change can be scary. Employment changes are like journeys into the unknown: they can cause feelings of risk, challenge, adventure, and possibly, fear. It’s natural to have anxiety about leaving a comfortable position “where everyone knows your name”. You’re familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of the company, how the office mail system works, what constitutes a lunch “hour”, and where the washrooms are.
Don’t let familiarity cloud your judgment. Ask yourself whether the new position is a positive step toward advancing your career. Will it be better for you than your current position? If the answer is yes, then proceed with pursuing the position. Familiarity will follow!
Why Companies Make Counteroffers
Some companies never make counteroffers. In others, it’s a fairly common practice. Consider what happens when an employee (like you) resigns:
First, morale is likely to suffer, particularly among your closest coworkers. Management will notice, and your resignation may be perceived as an unfavorable reflection on your boss. Your absence could jeopardize the progress of a big project, lead to increased workloads for colleagues who remain behind, and even mess up vacation schedules! Furthermore, it could be expensive (in terms of time, energy and money) to replace you.
A cheaper “solution” for the company is to make you a counteroffer. This may consist of a raise, a promotion, change in title or job description, or a combination of these factors. It may even be just a promise of change to come.
Be aware that this “solution” may actually be a stalling technique. By buying you back, the company has bought itself some time, perhaps to finish that big project, reorganize other team members, or search for a suitable replacement for you.
What Does a Counteroffer Sound Like?
Because your company wants to attract you to stay, a counteroffer will usually come cloaked in flattery. It may sound something like this:
Counteroffers can be tempting and ego-inflating. You also may detect an underlying threat that by not accepting the counteroffer, you’ll be throwing away your entire career, future, life.
Why Counteroffers Don’t Work
It’s true: counteroffers very, very rarely work. There are several reasons for this:
What You Can Do
Rather than setting yourself up for the feelings of confusion and guilt that may arise when a counteroffer is presented, be prepared.
Then, after you’ve done all that you can, move forward! Look ahead to your new opportunity, complete with fresh challenges and all the excitement that goes with the start of any journey.
TEN REASONS FOR NOT ACCEPTING A COUNTEROFFER
(Provided by the trainer, Bob Marshall, CPC)
1. What type of company do you work for if you have to threaten to resign before they give you what you are worth?
2. From where is the money for the counteroffer coming? Is it your next raise early? (All companies have strict wage and salary guidelines which must be followed).
3. Your company will immediately start looking for a new person at a lower salary price.
4. You have now made your employer aware that you are unhappy. From this day on, your loyalty will always be in question.
5. When promotion time comes around, your employer will remember who was loyal, and who wasn’t.
6. When times get tough, your employer will begin the cutback with you.
7. The same circumstances that now cause you to consider a change will repeat themselves in the future, even if you accept a counteroffer.
8. Statistics show that if you accept a counteroffer, the probability of voluntarily leaving in six months or being let go within one year is extremely high.
9. Accepting a counteroffer is an insult to your intelligence and a blow to your personal pride, knowing that you were bought.
10. 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.