If the counteroffer is generous, you might be tempted to stay. Here’s some thoughts to help you make the right decision.
What Made You Want to Leave?
When your employer is offering you a significant pay-rise, refusing their offer may seem counter-intuitive. However, before you accept their new terms and pass on your new job opportunity, think about why you wanted to leave in the first place. What was your motivation for seeking a new career?
Common reasons for handing in your notice include:
- Lack of recognition / appreciation
- No opportunities to progress or get promoted
- No opportunities for pay-rise
- Lack of work / life balance
- No challenge in the role
- Concerns about the future of the business
These are all serious concerns and shouldn’t be ignored – regardless of how seemingly generous the counteroffer is.
Should You Stay?
Examine the counteroffer carefully. Does it address the issues that you have with the company? For example, if your current role demands too much overtime, a higher salary isn’t going to resolve this. You’ll still be exhausted and lacking in free time – just for better pay!
Ask yourself the following:
- Is the pay-rise adequate? Break it down into monthly and weekly figures. How much impact would that have on your life in real terms, and is it worth it?
- Will my other issues be addressed? If your current role isn’t challenging enough, what steps will your boss take to resolve this? And (most importantly), what guarantees will they put into place, to ensure the situation improves? If the counteroffer only offers short-term guarantees, this isn’t great for your longer-term prospects within the company.
- Will I be passing up an opportunity? What attracted you to the job you recently applied for? What do they offer that your current company doesn’t? Are you likely to regret it if you turn the job down? Write down what you liked about the business and your new role within it – then compare it to your existing role.
- What is the realistic scenario? When you receive a counteroffer, particularly if it’s a generous one, it’s easy to focus on the prospect of earning more money, and forget about the realities of remaining with the company. Be as honest with yourself as possible. Can you really see yourself working for this business in the future? Do you believe it’s the right role for you? Or does the new job offer more challenges and opportunities?
- What will the impact be? You’ve now announced your decision to leave. Is this likely to affect your relationship with your boss and other members of staff? Will their trust in you be impacted? For example, when you next book time off for a doctor’s appointment, will they suspect that you’re actually sneaking off to another job interview? Also, how will your pay-rise affect your colleagues? If they feel frustrated and undervalued by comparison, this can cause bad feeling in the workplace.
Thinking Like an Employer
When making your decision to stay or go, try to understand your employer’s motivation for making a counteroffer. Staff retention is a big issue for companies, and their reason for asking you to stay might not be as flattering as you think!
For example, replacing you is likely to be a real hassle – costing them significant amounts of money in terms of recruitment, reduced productivity and extra training. They may believe it’s a cheaper option to simply offer you more money. Additionally, your departure could reflect badly on your manager – particularly if they report to someone else.
In short, your resignation is likely to give your employer a bit of a headache – and their reason for counteroffering may be to maintain the status quo, rather than to recognise and value your skills.
It’s Not Wrong to Want to Leave
When you hand in your resignation, your employer’s response may well be negative. You might hear some of the following comments:
- “I’m disappointed that you’ve come to this decision.”
- “We were planning to promote you soon.”
- “But you’ve got a great future with our company, why would you want to leave?”
- “I don’t think you’re making the right decision.”
Remember, your boss is only human, and is responding in a typically human way. Their comments may make you doubt your decision, or even make you feel guilty. However, bear in mind that it’s your right to change jobs if you want to – especially if you’ve got good reason to do so. Your boss may be feeling angry, panicked or disappointed at your decision, but ultimately, you shouldn’t have to compromise your career prospects to suit them.
Counteroffers – Should You Always Say No?
Of course, there may be times when the counteroffer is genuinely worthwhile. If you feel that your employer appreciates your talents, and wants to make you happier in your role, this suggests you’ve got a secure future within the company.
However, it’s important to bear in mind why you wanted to leave in the first place, and why the new job attracted you. Few intrinsic problems within the workplace can be resolved with a mere pay-rise and a few ‘promises’ of better working conditions!
Take some time to think about your decision. View it as you would a shop purchase. Rather than making an ‘impulse buy’ (which often results in regret, not to mention some serious guilt!), it’s better to weigh up your options and make a decision based on the facts.