You have invested time in deciding why you are no longer satisfied in your current company and job. You have written your cv, attended numerous interviews and finally been offered a job that aligns with your aspirations. Now the only thing to do is hand in your notice and move onto the next chapter of your career.
When you go to your line manager to hand in your resignation they turn around and offer you anything to stay. What do you do, after all we all like being wanted and its good for the ego to have someone beg you to stay. But, is this a good move for you and your career? Or is this just a short-term fix for your current employer?
At this juncture you need to ask yourself two questions, why are they doing this? and how does this benefit me and my career?
Why are they counter offering?
The why is often the question most people don’t ask, the majority of the time the answer is because you leaving doesn’t suit the plans of your company or manager. Everyone has a job to do and people are under stress and pressure to achieve it, your manager is no exception. As a manager one of the biggest pressure points is staff retention and you handing in your notice does not help them achieve their targets.
At this stage they will likely match the salary you have been offered by your new company and also promise that you will be in line for more interesting work in the future. The latter is almost always left open ended and rarely materialises.
How does this benefit me and my career?
Take the emotion out of your decision making, if your company needed to rationalise their headcount, they would not hesitate to make redundancies so why should you. You need to approach the counter offer without the emotional ties of having known the individuals for years and rationally decide what is best for you.
The first stop is to revisit all the reasons you were dissatisfied enough to invest your time and energy into looking for a new career opportunity.
No longer challenged: You may have been doing the same job for a number of years and are feeling bored and underutilised. Does the new offer include a change in your current role and the opportunity to add new skills, or will you be doing the same as you were before?
Career Opportunities: Have they offered you a promotion or the promise of a promotion in the near future? If they have ensure that this is with immediate effect and in writing.
Future Career Opportunities: Consider how likely you are to be in line for promotion if you have recently resigned and decided to stay. Is your boss really going to forget that you were willing to leave when looking at building his management structure?
Loyalty: How will your relationship with your manager be going forward? Will the element of trust still be there or will there always be a question mark over your loyalty and will they suspect that you will leave in the future.
Culture of firm: Does your firm value compliance and risk or are the divisions seen as a necessary evil? The culture will not change with a counteroffer and the frustrations will still be there.
Salary: This is the most common element of change in a counteroffer and the easiest and most cost-effective solution for a company. The question to ask yourself is why have you had to resign in order to get a pay rise? What has changed since yesterday when they valued you at less? The only change is that they are going to lose you and with the cost of recruiting and training new staff it is cheaper to increase someone’s salary by up to £20,000 rather than hire a new person.
You must also look at where the money is coming from for the salary increase, have they just offered you the next pay rise early and how long will you need to wait for your next pay rise? The new company has offered you a starting salary and the likelihood is that you will enjoy a pay rise either after the end of your probation or within 12 months.
How long will you stay after accepting a counteroffer?
With the National Employment Association producing figures that show over 80% of people who take counteroffers leave within the following six months, then the reality is that very few people are motivated to leave for just money. By not taking the new role you have paused your career for 6 months and have to go through the stress of finding a new job all over again, when you had already found a new job but decided to reject it.
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