Counter Offers – Why You Should Never Accept One

Although unemployment currently sits at a whopping 27.1% in South Africa you will find that there are markets where good people are incredibly hard to find especially in industries such as digital and technology.  So, the term “counteroffer” will absolutely come up if you are looking to change jobs.

Job searching takes a lot of time and energy, so you really do need to think long and hard about taking that leap.  If you have started the process of interviewing for a new role then it’s very likely that an offer of employment is going to come your way.  Now is the time for you to think strongly about what you want.  If you do accept this offer, then you are going to have to go through the resignation process with your current company.

If you have decided to resign, then you need to be prepared for powerful persuasive tactics by your employer as they will likely do everything in their power to get you to stay.

You must understand that it generally comes down to the cost of replacing you – money, time and inconvenience.  So, employers will do whatever it takes to keep you as invariably it will likely be cheaper than replacing you.  They may offer to increase your salary, change your working hours, offer flexi-time or even offer to change your job title or move you into another team.  They may come up with all sorts of wonderful promises.  You should also be prepared for strong emotional and psychological pressure.  Sometimes it’s incredibly hard to resist all of this and often tempting to stay as it’s what you know, and you are being given all this love and attention and made to feel so special.

Doesn’t this remind you of breakup?   I often tell candidates that resignations are like breaking up with someone.

8 Reasons Why A Candidate Shouldn’t Accept a Counter Offer:

  1. The reasons why you were considering a change in role in the first place do not disappear and they will repeat themselves even if you accept the counter offer.  More money very rarely fixes the bigger issue.
  2. Did you know that there is an industry statistic that 90% of people that stay for a counter offer end up leaving that role within a 6-month period?
  3. What type of company do you work for if you have to threaten to resign before they give you a promotion or pay rise?
  4. Where is the money for the counter offer coming from?  Is it your next pay rise but you are getting it early?
  5. Your employer is now aware that you are unhappy.  From this day on your loyalty will always be in question.
  6. When promotion time comes around your employer will remember who was loyal and who wasn’t.
  7. When times get tough your employer will begin cutbacks with you.
  8. It’s sometimes even harder to resign 2nd time round after staying for a counter offer

When you resign from your role your manager/company is going to have to find your replacement.  As I mentioned earlier, good people are hard to find so it’s unlikely that they will fill your job immediately.  So as soon as you resign the clock starts ticking down on your notice period.  Your manager has to advertise, go through cvs, interview people, offer someone, likely pay them more than what you are on, wait for them to start and then train them up.  A lot of time and money is going to go into replacing you so they would rather just offer you more money to get you to stay.

Having been on the other side I know exactly what is going through your manager’s mind when you resign.  

  • “This is happening at the worst possible time.”
  • “She is one of my best people. If I let her go, then it will affect the morale of the team”
  • “I really don’t need this right now, I’m already trying to fill that other role”
  • “I’m meant to be going on holiday next week.”
  • “I really don’t need the extra work load, I’m already busy as it is”
  • “This is going to reflect so badly on me”
  • “Maybe I can keep him on until I find a suitable replacement.”

Things you might hear from your manager when you resign –

  • “I’m really shocked. I thought you were as happy with us as we are with you. Let’s discuss it before you make your final decision.”
  • “What!   I’ve been meaning to tell you about some changes going on in the business, but it’s been confidential.”
  • “We are about to sign 2 new clients and there are going to be some great opportunities for you”
  • “Your pay rise was scheduled to go into effect next quarter, but we’ll make it effective immediately.”
  • “You can’t go work for them, they are terrible. They have the worst reputation”
  • “How can you do this in the middle of a major project? We were really counting on you.”
  • “After everything we have done for you, you can’t go now, we’ve invested so much into you”
  • When someone resigns, it’s basically a reflection on your manager.

So, you really do need to think long and hard about starting your job search and interviewing for new roles.  Don’t go through this process unless you have 100% made up your mind about leaving.