Accepting a new position should be an exciting life event. However, it can take a bit of an overwhelming turn should your employer propose a counteroffer upon your resignation. Counteroffers are nothing more than an enticement to get you to stay. Let’s discuss counteroffers a bit and what you should consider should you receive one.
A counteroffer is any type of lure your current employer uses to dissuade you from leaving. In most cases, a counteroffer will involve an increase in compensation if you stay, a promotion they say they were planning for you, or altering your responsibilities to make you more satisfied.
If you receive a counteroffer, you need to ask yourself, “If the company truly valued me, why did I have to resign to get what they just offered?” This, of course, begs the follow-up question, “Will I have to threaten to resign again in the future to continue my career advancement?” The unfortunate truth is there is a high probability you won’t even be there in the future.
In reality, when you provide your resignation, your employer’s first thought is not about what this means to you, but rather what your departure means to them. A few examples of your employer’s thoughts are:
• This couldn’t come at a worse time based on current business needs.
• This is going to take a toll on my performance and on my ability to be successful.
• It’s not going to be easy to find a replacement on such short notice, so maybe I can get them to stay until I find one.
On the other hand, what your boss will actually say to you will be something like:
• I didn’t know you were unhappy, let’s see what we can come up with so you will stay.
• I just worked out the details of your upcoming promotion.
• I was going to give you a raise next quarter. How about we make it effective now?
When it comes to the resignation process, if you don’t maintain a solid “business decision” mindset you run the risk of falling into the counteroffer trap. Before you give in to the temptations of the counteroffer, consider the following:
• Statistics show that 70 to 80 percent of people who accept counteroffers either leave or are let go within one year (according to US News and World Report).
• Regardless of what your employer says when extending a counteroffer, you will, from that moment forward, be considered a flight risk. This will certainly come into play in your employer’s future decisions regarding promotions or new opportunities.
• Counteroffers are usually nothing more than a means of stalling your departure to give your employer time to figure out how to replace you.
• When the word gets out that you resigned but then accepted a counteroffer, your relationship with your co-workers will become strained as resentment creeps in, and it will create turmoil in the office.
Remember, the original motivating factors that prompted you to leave your current employer will still be there. Your employer’s concessions will make the situation a little better in the short run, but the sources of your original dissatisfaction will eventually resurface.
Ultimately, if you decide to accept an employer’s counteroffer and stay, in reality you are really still leaving, but now it’s on their terms, not yours.