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Can You Count on a Counter Offer?

05th November, 2015

What does a counter offer actually offer?

Generally, counter offers involve a promise of increased wages. You may also be offered more opportunities to develop your career, promising you an increase in responsibilities or the chance to undertake more training.

What should you do when you encounter a counter offer?

Employees mustn’t lose sight of their reasons for leaving. The process of a counter offer can be very flattering; you spend more time with senior management than ever before as they discuss how they can persuade you to stay. Think though, can it override or compensate for the reasons why you wanted to leave? And will the changes offered be fundamental enough to really turn the situation around?

Unsurprisingly, an increase in salary is not the only factor behind people seeking a new opportunity. Other common factors include issues with their current workplace’s culture, worries about where the business is going, or not going, workload and difficulties getting on with colleagues. These factors pose a far more complex process of finding a solution than a question of pay.

What does life look like after a counter offer?

It’s important to consider the implications of accepting a counter offer.

Think carefully about whether what you’ve been promised will actually come into fruition. Getting something in writing is important so that both parties have confirmation of expectations and the time scale. For some issues this may be sufficient, but for others getting it in writing is not as effective, especially when they may relate to culture or a restructure.

Employees also need to consider the people on the other end – their prospective employer. Especially in a market as small as Jersey’s, burning bridges can prevent opportunities in the future. We’ve had instances where candidates have accepted a counter offer and within weeks are back on the job market, with their previous job offer repealed.

The overriding statistics when it comes to counter offers is that the vast majority of employees who decide to accept a counter offer, are back searching for a new role within 6 – 12 months.

Positive and proactive ways to approach counter offers?

Our advice to candidates is to consider the prospect of a counter offer from the moment you start searching for a new role. Think about what would entice you to stay and have that conversation with your line manager or HR representative before starting your job search. Give them the opportunity to make changes that would keep you engaged and motivated.

If after securing the ideal job, you are presented with a counter offer from your current employer, try not to let the pound signs or the attention make you lose sight of the driving factors behind your search.

While the prospect of a counter offer may seem like a difficult and confusing decision, you must ask yourself what is most important to you. Is it money? Responsibilities? Respect? How does the counter offer answer your long term career goals? You may find that the decision is not so hard after all.

For an employer, consider the real reasons you are making a counter offer. Would you really be giving this employee a raise if they weren’t considering leaving? Are you realising their true potential in the face of losing them, or is the offer simply a swift solution in answer to a potential vacancy? This decision is as important for you as it is for the employee, and you may even find it to be in the best interest of the company to let them go, rather than keep on an employee that is not happy working in their environment.

Whatever happens, you must remember that career goals are unique and no one can decide for you! If you find yourself facing a counter offer – make sure you weigh up all of your options and stay true to what’s most important to you.

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