The truth behind counter offers

It takes a lot of guts to quit your job.

Doing so means you’re shifting gears and moving into new, uncharted territory. Since it’s such an arduous task it’s no surprise that sticking with the status quo can be really tempting, particularly when your boss finally shows you your worth – by offering you a counter offer.

Before you feel worthy once again, stop for a pause and reflection.

A common truth behind a counter offer

With a shortage of top level talent in the market, companies are going to do everything they can to hold onto good people. As a result, when you show your cards and attempt to leave, there’s a good chance that you’re going to get a counter offer to tempt you stay. Yes it may mean that the business values you but the reality is it’s just more economical to offer you what you want to stay than it is to let you go and find someone new. Research has shown that it can cost as much as 200% of an annual salary to replace a senior executive. Replacing staff with new employees is far more expensive than retaining existing staff. Although on the surface it seems that by increasing your salary the company is taking a financial hit, in actual fact they are saving money overall.

So, don’t get caught up in gratitude, instead allow yourself to evaluate your options one last time before deciding to accept the counter offer.

The most important question to ask yourself is this, “Does the counter offer (whatever that may be) truly address your original reasons for wanting to leave?

Perhaps you were looking to move simply for more money? If that’s the case and your company offers you the remuneration you’re looking for, great! You’ve got what you wanted and you don’t have to go through the process of leaving and starting somewhere new. However, most of the time employees don’t leave simply for financial reasons. A lot of the time it’s a lack of progression, not enough support or guidance from management, no clear direction on where your career is headed at the company, not being given enough responsibility, a lack of challenges. If these are on your list then staying put purely for financial reasons isn’t going to serve you well in the long run. Studies show that 80% of those who accept counter offers end up leaving within the next 6 months. That shows that if you bury your true reasons for leaving you’re making a mistake. Those reasons will come back up to the surface as soon as the glow of the counter offer has faded.

Even if you do manage to get more than just a pay rise it’s important to consider whether the pay rise, promotion, or new responsibilities would have been given to you had you not threatened to leave. If that’s the case, why weren’t you offered these new incentives? Is it wise to stay at a company that doesn’t inherently reward you and recognise your value? If your company thinks you’re worth that now, why weren’t they paying you that, or promoting you earlier?

We advise that it’s always good to go back to the reasons why you wanted to leave in the first place. If those reasons are now being met, try and understand why you weren’t offered them earlier. Sometimes, it’s a simple oversight and the looming threat of your departure kicks your manager into gear and he or she starts to view you in a new light. If that’s the case, perhaps staying put is the right choice. If it’s not, don’t let the excitement of a counter offer, or the fear of the unknown stop you from achieving your goals and receiving your true worth.

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