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Counter-offer? No thanks, I’m off…

21/04/2016
In his latest blog, Mark Pearce, National Business Development Manager for Fircroft Australia, argues that no matter how tempting it may seem, you shouldn’t accept a counter-offer…

There were times when companies handed out gold clocks to those who celebrated 25 years of continuous employment. Those days are gone.
Today, changing jobs forms part of a successful career. Experience with several companies is a key asset that employees can bring to a new employer and experience is an asset that employers continually seek.

There are various reasons why people move on from their employers. Lack of training and development, no scope for growth or promotion, salaries not reflecting the market benchmarks, focusing on PR campaigns instead of employee retention and leaving a current manager are just a few.

This blog looks at one thing you should not do when leaving your current employer - Accept a counter offer.
When you leave an employer you leave behind work colleagues, peers, managers and leaders, some of whom may have been instrumental with helping you progress in your career.

Handing in your resignation isn’t the easiest of things you’ll do in your lifetime. For sure, your manager will be sorry to lose you. Your work colleagues still engage with you socially. You have contributed to the company’s growth and profits.

You’re leaving a gap in expertise that the company needs. You may be involved in a key project that the company has to deliver on time and budget.

The natural answer for your employer would be to keep you to minimise disruption to the company and the easiest and most common method for doing so is to counter-offer you immediately.

You only have to put yourself in your boss’s shoes to understand why this is the case. In their eyes, your acceptance of a new job is clearly a mistake.

Counter offers have many variations:
Counter offers are disguised in many different forms:

• “You’re part of our future plans.” - Plans that have suddenly appeared and you are part of them.
• “We were going to promote you.” Normally in a ‘strictly confidential’ format, you will be promoted if you stay on.
• “You are due a pay rise.” Normally a rise that will either match or beat your new offer of employment. Of course, the raise was always coming…..
• “The MD wants to speak with you before you go.” Having never spoken with you previously, surely this must be an honour?

The implications of the counter offer
Of course, all of the above appear flattering. You’ve suddenly been elevated a few levels higher…..and all because you’ve mentioned you are moving on to pastures new.

It’s only natural to feel a sense of guilt. Here’s your boss asking you stay on because you’re a most valuable member of the team. The company cannot afford to lose you.

However, before you consider retracting your termination of employment, you should consider the following:

• You’ve made a decision to leave because you felt that your new role offers you the opportunity to progress your career. If you stay, will the situation here really improve? (It’s almost nailed on that it won’t improve…)
• If you stay will your loyalty be suspect and affect any further chance for career progression? (You can bet your life on it, it will…)
• If your loyalty to your manager is questionable, will you be one who’s marked for a retrenchment when the economy starts to falter. (why, of course…)
• You’re being offered a raise to stay. (Your employer is offering you a raise because you’ve told them you’re leaving? Why wasn’t one offered in any case if they valued you that much?)
• The pay rise is more than what your colleagues are on and above company benchmarks. (You’re against the clock until they find your replacement….)

On reflection, something doesn’t add up.

Some friendly advice
You’ve made your decision to move on with your career and you’ve made a decision for a reason, so stick with it.

Trust your own judgement. You are the one who understands the implications of a counter offer best.
Always expect your company to attempt to keep you. Always expect your employer to show remorse that you’re leaving.

Listen to what they have to explain and then end your relationship on a professional and decisive note.

The counter-offer is nothing more than a belated promise of something new, based on the contributions and results you have previously demonstrated.

You’ve accepted a new career progressing position with a new employer.

So move on and grab the bull by the horns with the goal of making yourself as valuable to your new employer as you were to your old.

And if the above doesn’t convince you otherwise, you can always fall back on the fact that almost 90% of employees who accept a counter-offer are back on the market within six months!

In summary - never accept a counter-offer.

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