Why Counteroffers are Bad News

You are considering a change because your present position and/or company doesn’t offer the potential for growth you seek. You have looked at your decision to change, both logically and emotionally, and it’s the emotional decision that is the hardest. That old saying, “don’t let your heart rule your mind” is much easier to say than do. (But, the fact remains, your needs are not being satisfied!) Sure, the company has helped you progress professionally; sure, you’ve made many new friends; sure, you even feel comfortable because you can handle the job well. However, as soon as you thought about changing jobs you consciously or subconsciously decided that the company cannot or will not meet your requirements.

Top executives agree that the days of the gold watch for 30 years of faithful service are gone. In fact, experience at several good companies is considered an asset because your horizons are expanded. Today, changing jobs is a necessity if you expect your career to grow.
Let’s face it, it is natural to resist change and avoid disruption, and your present employment is no exception. If you’re doing a good job your employer will not want to lose you, and you can expect a counteroffer even though you have accepted a job elsewhere. You’ll be enticed with more money; you may get, or at least be promised, a promotion. The appeal will be emotional in nature and there will be an apology made in the form of not knowing of your dissatisfaction. Your boss may even enlist a Senior Director or the CEO to help convince you that you’re making a mistake.
It is guaranteed you will hear the following in some form or another:

1. “We have plans for you that will come to fruition the first of next month. It’s my fault for not telling you.”
2. “I shouldn’t do this, but I’m going to let you in on some confidential information. We’re in the process of reorganizing and it will mean a significant promotion for you within six months.”
3. “We’ll match your new offer and even better it by “x” percent. This raise was supposed to go into effect the first of next quarter anyway, but because of your fine record, we’ll start it immediately.”
4. “When I told our CEO of your decision, he told me he wants to meet you and your partner as soon as possible. You just tell me when, and he’ll drop everything to discuss this situation with you.”

Counteroffer Implications:
A counteroffer can be very flattering. Your emotions may be swayed, you are going to be tempted to stay; nerves will set in – that apprehension of change will urge you to reconsider your decision.
Accept the counteroffer only if you can answer “no” to all of the following:
1. Did I make the decision to seek other employment because I felt a new environment would provide me with the opportunity to enhance my career?
2. If I decided to stay after giving notice, will my loyalty be suspect and affect my chance for advancement in the future?
3. If my loyalty is questioned, is there the possibility that I will be an early layoff if business slows down?
4. The raise they’re offering me to stay, is it just my annual review coming early?
5. The raise I was offered is above the guidelines for my job. Does this mean they are “buying time” until a replacement can be found within the acceptable compensation guidelines for my job?
6. I got the counteroffer because I resigned. Will I always have to threaten to quit each time I want to advance?

Logic Must Prevail
As a professional, your career decisions must be made objectively; free of the emotional pressures you are likely to experience. Others will try to influence you, but sometimes only you know things are not right and will not get better. How do you explain a “gut feeling”? Are you expecting your company to be sorry to see you leave and to make some attempt to keep you? Their response should be considered flattering, but should be seriously questioned.
It’s up to you to end your relationship as professionally as you begun it. Write a letter that expresses your appreciation for the opportunity and tell them you enjoyed your relationship, but that your decision is final. Put it in your own words and either mail it personally or hand it to your immediate manager. Be pleasant but firm. Your new employer is anxious to have you start, so remember, two weeks notice is almost always sufficient.
A counteroffer is really a belated confirmation of the contributions you have made. Move ahead to your new job knowing you’ve made the right decision. After all, if you don’t look after your future, who will?


If you have accepted an offer from a new employer, and, on giving your notice to your present company, a counteroffer is made – you should consider the following:
• Ask yourself if you were worth “X” Pounds yesterday, why are they suddenly willing to now pay you “Y” Pounds today when you were not anticipating a raise for some time?
• Consider the fact that your present employer could be merely “buying time” with this raise until he can locate a replacement. Suppose you are given an annual raise of £3,000 as a counteroffer. When they find a replacement for you in, say 60 days, then the actual cost to them is only £500.
• Is just more money going to change everything in your present job? Consider the new opportunity you will be giving up that looked so favourable when you accepted it.
• The company will probably feel as though they have been “blackmailed” into giving you a raise when you announced your decision to leave.
• The possibility of promotion is extremely limited for someone who has “given notice”. The company is vulnerable. They know it and will not risk giving more responsibility to someone who has previously committed to leave.
• When economic slow-downs occur, you could be one of the first to go. You indicated your intention to do so once before, so it is only natural that your position would probably be eliminated in a slack period.
You should know that statistics compiled by the National Employment Association confirm that over 80% of those people who elected to accept a counteroffer and stayed, are no longer with their company six months later.
Carefully review in your mind all the reasons you wanted to make a change in the first place. Does the counteroffer really offset these reasons?
If you intend to seriously consider a counteroffer, be sure you ask your present employer to confirm all the details of said offer in writing.

10 Reasons for Not Accepting a Counteroffer
1. What type of company do you work for if you have to threaten to resign before they give you what you are worth?
2. Where is the money for the counteroffer coming from? Is it your next raise early? All companies have strict wage and salary guidelines which must be followed.
3. Your company will immediately start looking for a new person at a cheaper price.
4. You have now made your employer aware that you are unhappy. From this day on, your loyalty will always be in question.
5. When promotion time comes around, your employer will remember who was loyal – and who wasn’t.
6. When times get tough, your employer will begin the cutback with you.
7. The same circumstances that now cause you to consider a change will repeat themselves in the future, even if you accept a counteroffer.
8. Statistics show that if you accept a counteroffer; the probability of voluntarily leaving in six months or being let go within one year is extremely high.
9. Accepting a counteroffer is an insult to your intelligence and a blow to your personal pride, knowing that you were bought.
10. Once the word gets out, the relationship that you now enjoy with your co-workers will never be the same. You will lose the personal satisfaction of peer-group acceptance.


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