why its never a good idea to accept a counter offer

Why it’s Never a Good Idea to Accept a Counteroffer

Imagine the scenario: After several rounds of interviews and a series of psychometric tests, you’re finally at offer stage for a new role. You hand in your resignation to your current employer. It’s looking good and you’re ready to move on. Then . . . the unexpected happens. Your employer sits you down and makes you an attractive counteroffer. It’s the salary you’ve been after for years. It’s the promotion you’ve always hoped for. What should you do?

Our advice: Don’t accept that counteroffer! As established recruiters, of course it’s in our interest to place jobseekers with new employers. But, as people experts, we suggest it’s also in your interest to move on to pastures new. Here’s why:

A good employer should provide time and space for regular discussion

A valued employee shouldn’t need to go to extraordinary lengths to negotiate change with their employer. Salary increases and promotion should result from performance on the job and regular appraisals with management and/or HR, not from threatening to jump ship to join a new organisation. Equally, if you are struggling with aspects of your working environment, a good employer should provide you with the opportunity to discuss them, and you should feel comfortable and confident doing this.

You have reasons for wanting to leave your current role

If you were happy in your job, the chances are you wouldn’t be interviewing for a new role. You may feel undervalued and underpaid by your employer. Perhaps you’ve been passed over for promotion one time too many. Or maybe there are conflicts in the workplace that make you uncomfortable. If anything, a counteroffer from your current employer will prove to be a temporary fix that does nothing to resolve the underlying issues.

Management will consider you to be a flight risk

Employers value company loyalty, especially from their top performers. Attrition is costly and time-consuming for organisations. By interviewing for another role, you’ve shown that you are prepared to go elsewhere. Never again will management look at you the same way. They’ll always be wondering what you are planning and when you are going to leave. And that doesn’t make for an easy working environment for anyone.

Co-workers will view you with suspicion

It’s not just management who’ll be watching you closely, so will your co-workers when they find out what you’ve done. After all, you might have been offered the promotion one of them was aiming for. Or they might believe that you’re now on a more attractive salary package as a result of your actions. Expect to experience negative comments and distrust from those you work with.

The good times aren’t likely to last

Yes, a counteroffer might include a significant increase in salary or promotion to the role you’ve always wanted. But consider the following year when you are overlooked yet again for managerial development opportunities. Or don’t receive the bonus you think you deserve. How long will that counteroffer sustain you before you realise that things haven’t changed?

Your reputation will suffer

If you’ve reached offer stage with an employer only to turn them down to stay in your current role, you’ll need to tread carefully when you do decide to move on. Headhunters and employers are a close-knit group, especially in certain industry sectors. If you’ve gained a reputation for wasting people’s time, you’ll have to work hard to persuade everyone you’re going to follow through this time.

Admittedly, a counteroffer can be a huge temptation, providing you with what you’ve always wanted as well as the security of staying in a familiar environment. We suggest you don’t give into that temptation without taking the time to reflect on your motivations and prospects. Think about why you are looking at moving on. What don’t you enjoy in your current role and workplace? What attracts you to the new role and organisation?

In our experience, counteroffers are often little more than a temporary fix, while a new role in a new organisation can deliver the positive working environment, financial reward and opportunities for growth that you deserve.

If you’re looking for a new role or advice on dealing with counteroffers, please contact the experienced team at Optimal Recruitment on 02 8416 4181 for a confidential discussion.