Talent Acquisition Workplace

How to Respond to a Counter Offer

Before you hand in your resignation one of the things that you must be prepared for is what your response will be if your current employer comes to you with a counter offer.

After deciding that you want to leave your current place of work, getting through the interview process with a prospective employer and negotiating a better pay and benefits package than the one you are presently on, what do you do if your current employer agrees to match this offer or even better comes back with a more lucrative package?

When it comes to counter offers there are a few things that you should consider carefully before accepting or declining. We have put together some useful advice to help you get into the right frame of mind to consider your options carefully before making a final decision.

Weigh up the pros and cons:

A counter offer is made by a current employer in order to try and keep an employee who has adequate skills and experience within the company by attempting to match or better the offer received from the employee by a prospective employer.

Your current employer might be better off in the short term if you stay with them. They won’t have to spend time and money trying to source a new replacement and train new staff up. They will often use a number of tactics to try and persuade you to withdraw your notice.

For example moving your annual pay rise forward or suggesting that the opportunities or challenges you are looking for lie within their company. In most cases your employee probably hasn’t already come to you beforehand offering you these perks or benefits and this should be something you think about before making a final decision, as your resignation could impact on you even if you do decide to stay.

Whilst working for your current company you may have formed friendships with your work colleagues and when you receive a counter offer it can often be hard to turn it down as you do not want to inconvenience them or the company and depart on a sour note.

When you are weighing up the pros and cons of staying or leaving the company you work for, think carefully about what your prospects for the future are if you stay and consider what you already know about the organisation, such as how the company works and how they treat their staff.

It is important to remember that moving to another job rarely means that you have to refrain from staying in contact with the people you have formed emotional relationships with. In the long run the most suitable option for you will also more than likely be the most beneficial for your current employer, whether or not this is immediately apparent to them at the time.

Why did you want to leave in the first place?

It is important when considering a counter offer that you always keep in mind what your reasons were for pursuing a job with another company in the first place. Taking salary aside for a moment the new position could offer:

  • childcare, healthcare or pension schemes
  • flexible working hours
  • freedom to travel on an international basis
  • greater opportunities for development
  • project variety
  • training initiatives

Whatever your reasons are for wanting to leave your current employer it is crucial that you remember what they are and think rationally about what is best for you as an individual, before you respond to a counter offer.

Coming to a decision:

If you do decide to decline a counter offer it is important that you stand by your decision. Be respectful and thank your employer for making the opportunity available to you but also emphasize your decision to resign.

You may want to tell your employer the reasons behind your intentions but do not feel like you have to justify your choice to them. At the very least you can say that you have considered both options carefully and have come to a conclusion based on what you feel is best for you in your career. Make it clear that you are not looking for another counter offer and that you hope to depart amicably on a good note.

On the other hand, if you do decide to accept the counter offer and remain with your current employer after thinking carefully about both options, it is important to remember that your employer will always remember your attempted resignation and may consider you a fidelity risk in the future.

In some cases, employers will use counter offers as a stall device to buy them some time in getting a replacement for your position and even if this isn’t the case you will need to work hard to regain your employer’s trust and faith in you.

Likewise, if your employer has only put forward a counter offer because of the threat of you leaving and not because they believe you deserve a pay rise or better working conditions then you may lose faith in them as a fair and equitable company.

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