Handling Counter Offers

You need to be totally honest with yourself. Are you serious about leaving your current employer? We assume so or you would not have invested the time you have to secure a better role for your future.

90% of our candidates accept their offers of employment. In less than 1% of offers made since founding in 2000 have we seen candidates be counterbid and remain with their current employer. The remaining 9% who don’t accept don’t actually get to resigning.

It is normal for an employer to want to try to keep you. There are a number of reasons for this including

  • They do not want the business disruption of you leaving or at least not when you want to.
  • Your leaving sends a message to other staff that there may be better opportunities for them also elsewhere
  • It may be more cost effective to try to bribe you to stay than hire your replacement, recruitment fees, advertising, management time etc.

Here are some example tactics that may used to try to keep you:

  • They may refuse to accept your resignation. No employer can refuse to accept your resignation.
  • They may ask you to speak to no one else internally or externally about your resignation. This is particularly used when they want time to stage a counter bid. You have resigned so you do not have to follow such an instruction.
  • You may be invited to an immediate meeting with the Directors or even the CEO. The objective here is to talk you out of leaving as well as making you feel valued and important. If you are not that senior be honest with yourself , how many one to one career meetings have you had with the CEO before?  You will certainly be high profile but perhaps not for the reasons that you would want to be.
  • They may come back to you with a revised financial offer. This may be an immediate salary rise or more probably a time-scaled rise linked to an increase in your performance.
  • They may talk about increasing your responsibilities, even possibly offering you an immediate and unexpected promotion.
  • They may appeal to your loyalty and try to make you feel guilty for resigning due to the impact on the business / your team etc. Don’t fall for this. You first duty is to yourself and where appropriate, your dependents.

What does all this mean?

Ask yourself one straight question why have you got to resign to suddenly be offered the salary or position, or both, that you felt you were worth or desired for some time?

Your employer is only doing this because you have actively forced their hand.

Be a realist. If you are offered a substantial salary rise to stay, in the cold light of day you know that this is not in the p&l budget, or if it is, why was your salary held down for so long anyway?

If your pay rise was not in the budget then you can expect hidden and growing resentment at the cost of retaining you, as your line manager will not unreasonably want to maintain the pay differential that previously existed between you and them or they won’t feel that the extra responsibilities they have is being fairly rewarded.

Secondly, future pay awards you receive will be miniscule for the next X number of years whilst you are gradually brought back into line with others. When you raise this with senior management you can expect to be reminded of the “very substantial rise we gave you only two years ago”

This ignores the fact that this rise only brought you back to the market rate. It did not actually compensate you for your previous years of being underpaid.

Market feedback suggests that for those who are talked into remaining with a current employer, typically, irrespective of the new terms offered, normally leave within 6 – 12 months anyway. The rationale for this is that the trust has gone on both sides irrespective of the new terms.

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