counter-offers tips

Tips for dealing with counter offers

Quitting a job is like a relationship break-up with many of the emotions that are experienced when separating from a partner, also being felt when leaving an employer.

This is the same for both parties, though, and it’s important not to allow feelings such as betrayal, regret and trepidation by either party, to drive the response to objective career decisions.

It’s only natural that in a challenging labour market, counter offers become more frequent as spurned employers seek to minimise the inevitable disruption that ensues… and we’ve certainly been seeing that over recent months!

So, I thought it would be useful to add some context to the subject, and provide insight to help candidates come to decisions that are right for them in the long-term.  

What drives counter-offers?

You have to remember, the aim of a counter-offer is first and foremost to stop you leaving. However, this is often underpinned by ulterior motives, and once you take a step back and look at the bigger picture, it’s possible to add the context required to make an informed decision that benefits your own position.

As with many things in life, to-leave-or-not-to-leave may appear, on the face of it, a binary choice. Add into the mix the quantity of ‘time’, though, and you’re suddenly presented with infinite possible decisions such as: stay another month, stay a year, or leave in the summer, for example.

When someone counter-offers you, they will usually have already come to the realisation that you will inevitably leave at some point, but their main aim is to get it to happen on their terms, so often financial incentives are used to wrestle back control.

The problem with this scenario, though, is that you’re career decisions will be temporarily  relinquished to someone who is experiencing the overwhelming emotion of betrayal. This empowers them to manufacture a situation whereby your departure causes minimal disruption to them, under the guise of prospective improvements in reward structures or working conditions for you.

Not a great place to be!

This rarely ends well.

A recent LinkedIn article highlighted that as many as 80% of candidates who accept a counter offer end up leaving within 6 months, rising to 9 out of 10 within 12.

Thinking back to the analogy of the broken relationship, many will enter this period of almost inevitable demise with a false sense of loyalty which is masking the rationale behind the original decision to leave.

I’m sure many will justify their change of heart by thinking to themselves that their situation is ‘different’. But in the vast majority of cases they are wrong. The classic case of heart ruling over head?

The only difference is that when it has dawned that the change of heart was misguided, the original opportunity that caught their attention has disappeared over the horizon.

Of course the employer is aware of this when they present the counter. In fact, in reality they only need to distract the employee for a matter of weeks before that ship has sailed. Coincidentally, this is often the length of time it takes for the old problems to raise their head and the search for a new job must start again.

This takes time though, and the employer can be planning their move to accommodate this new disruption.

Cynical? The stats don’t suggest so.

In a nutshell…

To avoid this happening to you, make your decision in advance and commit.

If you decide in beforehand that you’re going to the gym in the morning, you’ll invariably go. But if you wait till you wake-up to decide, often the warm bed and hour extra of sleep will prevail.

Make you decisions in the cold light of day, and with the emotion taken out of it, and if the opportunity stacks up, commit wholeheartedly!…  no matter what is thrown at you to entice you to stay.

Blogs & Vlogs