How to deal with a Counteroffer

Some truths about counter offers:

  1. When you accept a counter-offer, you should know that an element of trust with your current company is broken.
  2. You may be overlooked for future promotions as a result
  3. The salary increase you accepted to change your mind wasn’t budgeted for and must come from somewhere…probably your future salary increases.
  4. But mostly – the real reasons why you were considering a new opportunity in the first place will still exist…internal office politics, management styles, lack of career growth etc. The only issues that actually change are money or immediate promotion.  These are short sighted returns.
  5. As a result, global data shows that approximately 70% of people who accept a counteroffer have either moved on, or are actively looking for a job – within 9 months!


Why are counter-offers made?

You have been a valued employee, you’ve likely made an excellent contribution, and there will be a big gap (which will probably be quite hard to fill) when you leave. So when you resign you are going to be presenting your current employer with a short term crisis – and they are going to do their very best to try to address this short term crisis in the quickest, simplest, most cost-effective way – by trying to keep you!

So, they are going to make it deliberately tough for you to just walk away – not because they’re bad people, but because that’s what companies do when faced with the prospect of losing a top employee.

The counter-offer may take the form of an offer of more money, or it could be something else (a promotion, the corner office, flexi-time, future study opportunities).

So when the counter-offer is made (in whatever form) remember that your boss has an agenda, and the agenda is to avert the crisis that you are creating by leaving. When you realize this, and see the ‘promises’/ counter-offer strategy for what it is, it will be MUCH easier to deal with.


What to say if you’re made a counter-offer:

  • I am flattered at your offer. Nevertheless, I have accepted an offer at another organization, and I’d like you to respect my decision in this regard
  • If they ask you who the company is or what the offer is, SAY: ‘I’d prefer not to discuss these details. Once again, please respect my decision to move on, which is not up for negotiation’
  • If they ask you why you didn’t come and speak to them first, respond as honestly as possible. And then repeat that this new opportunity will offer the career opportunities you have been looking for.

Be consistent in your messaging – that your decision to leave has been made, for the right reasons, and you will not be reconsidering this.

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