When was the last time you planned to do something far in advance, only to change your mind at the last minute because something or someone got you thinking differently? Chances are you aren’t the only one who’s changed their mind at the last minute, and as a job seeker, you may find yourself in similar scenarios. For example, you might have to decide between multiple job offers or consider a counter offer from your current employer. While they are both great positions to be in, accepting a counter offer can be a mistake, especially when you’re caught off guard.
The counter offer is becoming a more common practice amongst employers that don’t want to risk losing their top talent. Instead of letting an employee go, they will present resigning employees with an incentive (or two) to entice them to stay. It can be tempting to take a counter offer from the company you are already employed with especially if it’s in the form of higher compensation or other perks. However, it’s important to remember why you started looking for a new job in the first place. While a counter offer may address some of your professional concerns now, in most cases, there may be unexpected consequences for this decision, including:
While accepting a counter offer might seem like a good decision at the time, the moment your manager knows that you are considering changing employers, the level of trust they once had for you will be tarnished. Moreover, not only do they know where your motives lie and that you’re interested in moving on, but once word gets around the office that you were offered (and accepted) a counter offer, your coworkers may begin to treat you differently.
To put this into perspective, we surveyed approximately 400 job seekers and working professionals and found that nearly 30% of employees who accepted a counter offer ended up leaving within 12 months. On top of this, 64% of those who left within 12 months felt that accepting the offer negatively affected their work relationships. In the end, these damaged relationships have the potential to decrease your level of productivity, affect your collaborative efforts, and eventually force you to consider leaving…again.
Since more money is typically what is offered when an employer counters, job seekers make the mistake of thinking this will solve all of their problems. However, before you accept a counter offer, ask yourself if accepting more money will make you happier despite the other reasons why you considered leaving in the first place. Don’t be blinded by a salary increase or any other perks you’re offered if it does not address your main reason(s) for wanting to leave. For example, job seekers may typically look for a new job in hopes of growth opportunities, new challenges, or a company culture. In those cases, an increase in salary would only serve as a short-term fix for a long-term problem.
If you tell your current employer that you are leaving and they immediately start to praise your performance and are willing to meet your demands for you to stay, this should raise some red flags. Have you all of a sudden become a more valuable employee and your manager sees your true worth? Probably not, so ask yourself why it took your resignation for them to present their best offer to you. Typically, if an employer offers you a counter, they will probably say just about anything to avoid going through the process of finding a replacement. Therefore, if you know your true worth, but your employer has failed to compensate you for your skills and experience accordingly, stick with your initial decision and move on.
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