Why Counter Offers Don’t Work
Counter offers are a common tactic used by companies to prevent their top employees from leaving. If you’ve ever been through a resignation process, chances are you’ve experienced a counter offer.
It goes like this: Employee submits their resignation, and a skilled recruiter or HR person will speak with them to look for a hook that could get the employee to consider staying. This may come in the form of more money, a better job title or even promises of a changed work environment.
Receiving a counter offer is flattering, and the temptation to stay is normal. However, counter offers are typically just a tactic for companies to prolong the inevitable and avoid re-hiring. Offering more money, or a promotion is rarely addressing the actual factors behind your resignation; thus the chances of retaining you long-term are pretty slim.
Emotional power play
Very few people wake up one day wishing to resign from their job without any reason. These decisions are usually carefully considered, and the motivations for leaving may be different for every person and are always unique to your situation. Yet, despite having logical and well thought out reasons for resigning, the whole process can be mentally and emotionally challenging.
At the resignation stage, it is typical that you may feel frustrated or even sad that your current company has not seen your worth or given you the promotion you felt you deserved. This is what makes the counter offer so powerful; it is as though they finally see you and human instincts make us want to cling to what is comfortable and familiar. But in most cases, it is a band-aid and it doesn’t stay stuck for long.
Avoiding the counter offers trap
The number one reason that counter offers don’t work is that they don’t solve the underlying issue. When you receive a counter-offer, the first step is to put flattery aside and think about why you resigned in the first place.
But they offered me a promotion…
Even if a promotion is promised, it doesn’t change the dynamics of the team, or your boss, or the myriad of other things that had driven you to resign in the first place. At best, accepting a counteroffer is a short-term solution delaying the inevitable.
I could use the extra money…
Offering a salary increase to counter a resignation is a “too little, too late” attempt. Sure it may seem like it solves some problems and perhaps your frustration was predominantly monetary, but ask yourself why you hadn’t been offered a salary increase following your last performance review. It shouldn’t take a resignation for your company to acknowledge your worth. Do you want to work for an organisation which under-values their staff unless they’re threatened you will leave? I don’t think so.
Nothing glues back the same
What very few people consider is that accepting a counter-offer brings with it a brand new set of problems. You can’t take back your attempt to resign, and even if they wanted you to stay, your employer can never again see you the same. They may be throwing money and promotions your way, but your boss and your colleagues will not be able to shake the feeling that you are disloyal or uncommitted to the company.
Counteroffers are gratifying. But the risks outweigh the rewards. When you’re in the resignation process, keep a list of your reasons close by, recite them often, and follow through on your plans to leave and start a new chapter. Just be sure to leave on good terms.