So, you’ve handed in your notice and you’re ready to leave your job…
But just as you’re about to clear your desk – your boss offers you a surprisingly lucrative counter offer. And whether it’s more money, more responsibility or a promotion, deciding whether to accept or reject a counter offer is never an easy choice.
To help you decide whether to stay or go, here are five things to consider when you receive a counter offer:
What are your options?
First things first, you need to consider your options.
After planning to leave your current position, you may have another job lined up. And if you turn it down in order to accept a counter offer – not only will you risk burning bridges at the new organisation, you could also be missing out on a more suitable opportunity.
So before rushing into anything, ask yourself why you’re moving on, and what the new job will give you that your old job can’t. More flexibility? A role change? A new challenge? Then, figure out whether you can achieve of these things staying where you are.
If you’re having trouble making a decision, creating a pros and cons list of what each option offers, is a great way to put things into perspective.
Will accepting make you happy?
The key to deciding whether to accept a counter offer is to think objectively – and long term.
Although the money might seem like a good reason to stay right now – it might not be as appealing after a few months.
Because whether its uncooperative colleagues, a lack of career progression opportunities, or an unhappy work environment – there are many reasons people may want to leave a job. And it’s not always about the money.
If you’re considering a financial investment in the near future (e.g. a mortgage), it’s also worth bearing in mind that a longer period at one employer may help your application get accepted.
What will your employer think?
After sharing that you’re no longer interested in working for your employer, there’s a chance that your boss may question your loyalty – even if you do decide to stay.
Aside from putting a potential strain on your working relationship, they may also avoid favouring you above other, seemingly more committed, colleagues.
For example, promotion opportunities or big projects may be entrusted with someone else instead of you, and your job might be a little less secure.
But remember: they asked you back for a reason. If it is a cause for concern, you can regain their trust and prove your dependability through hard work and commitment.
Do they really want you to stay?
If you’ve been feeling underappreciated for a while, a counter offer might come as a bit of a shock.
Aside from wondering why it’s taken a resignation letter (and not your consistent hard work) for them to acknowledge your efforts, you may also be questioning their intentions.
For example, recruiting can be a long and expensive process – meaning a counter offer might not necessarily be a long-term solution (for either of you). Instead, some employers might use your extended stay as an opportunity to look for a replacement.
So, before you turn down another job for a seemingly attractive pay packet and a hope that your current employer will change their ways – make sure they’re keeping you for the right reasons.
Can you negotiate?
If you’re thinking about staying, it’s worth seeing if you can negotiate. But before you do, you may need to consider a few things.
Firstly, ask yourself if you’re actually in a position to ask for more money.
For example, an employer is far more likely to consider upping their offer if they think the employee is great in their chosen field. On the other hand, if you’ve always received below satisfactory appraisals – the negotiation ball probably isn’t in your court.
Secondly, you need to figure out what you’re worth. By researching the salaries of similar roles in the same area, you can find out the true market value for the work you’re doing – giving you good grounds for negotiation.
Will you be motivated enough to deliver?
Accepting a counter offer often means you’ll be accepting more responsibility.
So, before you jump at the opportunity, ask yourself whether you can live up to the potentially higher expectations that come with an increased salary.
Not only will you have to work a little harder, you’ll also have to do it in the same work environment you previously wanted to leave, without a promotion.
That kind of motivation could be hard to muster, especially if you feel like your boss may be doubting your abilities after you handed in your notice.
So, make sure you’ve weighed up all the options first – and thought about your main motivations – before making any formal decisions.