The question of a counter-offer comes up when you’re resigning from your current company and they offer you a better deal to stay. Here are some thoughts to consider:
- Never, ever talk with your current boss too early about resigning. You may find yourself out the door without a job from either company.
- Don’t resign until you have a written offer and you have accepted in writing. There are horror stories of people with no job, based on misinformation or faulty assumptions.
- Do not use an offer as a negotiating ploy to get a raise or new responsibilities at your present employer. You’ll be sorry later, when the tables are turned.
Let’s assume you have a firm, valid offer and you have accepted. Let’s assume, also, that your current company comes back to you with a counter-offer. The questions are:
- Why didn’t they recognize your talent and contribution beforehand? Why did you have to force their hand? Good questions. Usual answer: Your company is in a panic mode because they’ll have a problem replacing you and you’ll leave a hole in their results
- Why are they counter-offering in the first place? Usual answer? They didn’t do a good job with preparing and developing back-up personnel for key jobs.
Let’s further assume that you are dazzled with their counter-offer of promotion: Compensation, incentives and multiple promises of better things to come. What are the usual dynamics that follow? Here is what’s possible and maybe predictable:
- An estimated 80% of people accepting counter-offers are no longer with the company after one year. You may have broken the unwritten rule of “loyalty”
- The company may put in a plan to replace you once things settle down since you could threaten to leave again
- Will the reasons that caused you to want to leave in the first place be eliminated? Usually not. They will still remain, only this time they’re magnified
- There is usually a residual sense of resentment somewhere in the organization with bosses (who you put in a corner) and subordinates (who would have gotten your job)
- You’ll never hear from that new potential employer again, and maybe the word has spread into other organizations.
Are there exceptions to the rule? Yes, of course. But history is not on your side. Ask yourself the question, “How would I feel if I were the boss and someone kicked the legs out from under my organization’s results, then forced me to counter-offer?”