Beware of the Counteroffer
One of the most common pitfalls for professionals making the next step in their career is the counter offer. Given today’s employment market, most resignations result in counter offers. Counter offers, if considered, become very emotional and stressful. If accepted, counter offers prove to be poor long-term career decisions.
What will a manager say to keep you from leaving? Following are a few commonly heard items:
- “Top management had been eyeing you for a promotion.”
- “We weren’t going to give you this raise until next quarter, but…”
- “No need to hurry into this. Let’s sit down this week and discuss it before you make a final decision.”
- “Apparently you don’t know too much about XYZ Co.?”
Why would a manager say these things? Here is typical management thinking.
- “If I let him leave, everyone else may begin to look deeper into the environment, and there goes morale.”
- “I can’t find anyone for the last vacancy, now another one.”
- “Great…more work for me.”
- “My review is next week, and this makes me look bad.”
- “If I can only keep her here until we find a replacement.”
When someone quits, it is a direct reflection on the manager. Unless you are an extremely poor worker or a thorn in his/her side, the manager looks bad by allowing you to leave. By human nature, the gut reaction is to do what is necessary to keep you from leaving until he/she is ready to let you go.
Before you accept a counteroffer, consider:
- Well-managed companies simply don’t make counter offers. They treat their employees well up front.
- Why a raise now? Why not before your threat to quit?
- You will become next on the list of “cutbacks” to be made, when a suitable replacement is found.
- Things haven’t changed. Why did you want to leave in the first place?
- You will lose that hard-earned respect of your co-workers.
All things considered, very few candidates have ever really gained from a counteroffer. In fact, large majorities of people who accept the “bribe-back” end up either being released from their position within a year, or quit within 6 months. The only one who really gains is the company that extended it as it provides them time to create a succession plan and to find a replacement candidate. If you have thoughts about accepting a counteroffer, it is highly recommended you don’t even start looking for a new position.