So you've come to the conclusion that you should be ‘moving on’. Getting a new job is one of those things that requires a bit of effort to get going… a bit like decorating and exercise I suppose… but the results make it all worthwhile in the end.
You then get your CV together, contact your Recruitment Consultant and start applying for roles. In the fullness of time, you receive a good offer (excellently brokered by said Recruiter, of course) from a great company, which you decide to accept. All that is left to do now is submit your resignation and you’re on your way.
Then, as if by magic, your employer schedules a meeting: And there it is – the counter offer - the job you would have liked before, the salary you thought you deserved all along, the terms they’d promised at the start but never made good on. It’s now all on the table, and for a brief moment you are flattered; tempted by the golden goose.
But we highly recommend that you proceed with caution. There are several points that you should consider, but perhaps the most pertinent - to remind yourself of why you wanted to leave in the first place, what has really changed? And what is it that motivates firms to counter offer?
- Companies try to keep their staff as long as they can, and when a desirable employee hands in their notice, well-intentioned managers often try to talk the employee out of it with a financial incentive to stay. It’s easier to keep you than it is to replace you. The cost of recruiting and replacing a qualified candidate can be significant.
- If this improved job/ salary was available all along, then why didn’t they offer it to you before they thought they were losing you? That says much about the attitude of the company and how they value (and reward) good workers. Is that really who you want to be working for?
- Your employer will no longer consider you part of the “inner circle” of trusted confidants. If you have been flirting with other companies, the trust is irrevocably weakened. Your employer might say they will ‘forget about the whole thing’, but every visit to the dentist will be viewed with suspicion.
These stastics show us that you are still likely to leave despite the improvements in your current role. But why? Well often, when the next round of promotions/ pay rises come about, you will undoubtedly be overlooked because (a) you already got something out of your employer before any scheduled review and (b) also aware of these statistics, employers sometimes strategically use a counter offer as a stalling device, whilst they scour the market for your potential replacement. This appointee will be set to work alongside you as your employer seeks to protect themselves from exposure or weakness if (or when) you go. Regardless of whether they now want you to leave, or just expect you to, this development will undoubtedly put you in a very dubious position, as you have no choice but to compete with your new colleague for your boss’s approval.
And so, once again, the relationship starts to sour, and you have no alternative but to get your CV together, touch base with a Recruitment Consultant and start applying for roles, again. Except that this time, there is one company you cannot apply to, as 6 months ago, you wasted their time with a fruitless job application - once bitten and all that.