Counter Offers – why it’s too late…

Road sign on rural highway warning that road is closed ahead.For most people, when they decide to look for a new job it is due to either one of two compelling motivations:

  1. The positive reason of seeking new challenges, career growth or other opportunities that have not been forthcoming or available in their current employment. You are essentially being pulled to a new job by positive and productive factors.
  2. More common is the desire to leave your current employment due to negative factors. These can include lack of career growth or future for you, insufficient financial reward for your efforts, poor culture or bad management, hours worked or a myriad of other reasons that make you unhappy. It is essentially negative factors in this role/organisation that is pushing you to seek a better home.

Employers know that the cost of replacing an employee can be quite high, depending on the seniority or technicality of the person. Due to the difficulty of replacing this person, especially if they were being underpaid for their role, many employers will try to make a counter offer. It is invariably a costly irritation for employers to recruit your replacement and often they will do everything they can to keep you. They may offer large sums of money or increased benefits, titles and promises for the future. They can also apply strong emotional and psychological pressure. It can be attractive and tempting to accept.

However, once they know you are discontented, they will regard you as a ‘problem employee’. Nationally compiled statistics show that nine out of ten people who accept counter offers have left their employment within six months, either because their employers arrange a replacement in their own time, or because the real reasons for wanting to change your job in the first place, have not gone away.

Reasons for Not Accepting a Counter Offer

  1. You have now made your employer aware that you are unhappy. From this day on your commitment will always be in question.
  2. When promotion time comes around, your employer will remember who is loyal and who isn’t.
  3. When times get tough, your employer will begin the cutbacks with you.
  4. When your employer replaces you after six months and ‘lets you go’, it’ll be harder for you to change their minds than it was for them to change yours!
  5. Accepting a counter offer rarely changes the factors that drove you to look for a new job in the first place.
  6. Where is the money for the counter offer coming from? Is it your next pay rise early?
  7. Statistics show that if you accept a counter offer, there is a ninety percent chance you will be out of the job within six months.
  8. The underlying reasons that caused you to consider a change are likely to repeat themselves in the future.
  9. What type of a company do you work for if you have to threaten to resign before they give you what you’re worth?
  10. Why didn’t they pay you or give you that promotion before? It was because they didn’t think you were worth it.
  11. Why are they paying it to you now? It’s because it’s easier and cheaper for them to keep you for the time being, while they sort the problem out.
  12. Your company is likely to being looking for your replacement immediately, in case you decide to resign again.

Like a relationship, it is never the same again

The current employer who gains back its staff member is the big winner, not you! Initially, it may appear to lose ground because of the pay increase or promotion it extends. However, these costs are minimal compared to the loss of momentum on a project or the expense of recruiting a replacement. But, ‘winning back’ an employee is only a short-term fix, as the reasons pulling you to a better job or pushing you away from this one will not have changed. Your relationship with your manager and company is never the same. Some statistics suggest that with 6-8 months of a counter offer being accepted the employee is either sacked or quits, as typically the underlying reason why the employee wanted to quite in the first instance still remains. Distrust hangs over you like a dark cloud.

An employer may make or attempt a few improvements, but will rarely change its culture for one employee. The employee’s integrity, loyalty and commitment are forever in question after this perceived blackmail tactic. He or she will never be trusted or considered a member of the inner circle. Grudges will most certainly be held, whether overtly or covertly. Future advancement becomes more difficult, and the company WILL begin to seek a replacement.

The facts speak for themselves

A counter offer is often the most cost-effective and productive solution to your resignation. Persuading you to stay may be cheaper than recruiting your replacement – so for your company, it’s not about you – it’s sound economics.

And if you find yourself being tempted, remember this: statistics show that 89% of all employees who accept a counter offer leave within the next 6 months.