Handling Counter Offers

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Many employers are struggling to retain good quality professionals. As a result counter offers are becoming an increasingly popular strategy to mitigate staff attrition. When considering whether or not to accept a counter offer it’s important to bear in mind how your decision could impact your career over the long term.

If you are in this position you need to ask yourself whether the offer will truly address your original reasons for wanting to leave. It is possible that your future with the company could be impacted even if you decide to stay.

“Our research has shown that while many professionals have received counter offers during their resignation process, 39% of those who accepted returned to the jobs market within a year", said Sarah Owen, Director of Walters People Ireland.

This suggests that employees who have considered leaving a company and have found an alternative role will not be persuaded to stay long term.

It is in an organisation’s best interest to retain their best staff whenever possible, so managers will often try to financially incentivise their employees to stay.

Moving to a new employer can seem daunting and a rise in pay and increased career progression is appealing, but before you accept the counter offer you should consider a number of factors:

1. Has the trust in your relationship been damaged?

While counter offers are a popular strategy among employers to retain staff, 39% of professionals who accepted returned to the jobs market within a year. It is possible that your employer's opinion of you will be damaged by the fact that you seriously considered leaving.

If you have been looking for another job, then your employer may see you as less trustworthy than before and could view any dental or doctors appointments suspiciously which may make you feel unsettled at work.

2. Is the counter offer in your best interests or your employer’s?

Retaining staff, even if it means increasing their salary or bonus, is usually cheaper than hiring and training a new employee. These factors may be what drives your employer to make the decision to encourage you to stay.

"While it is clearly in your employer's interest to retain you, this doesn’t change the fact that you’d been unhappy enough at work to not only look for another opportunity, but to interview and subsequently receive an offer for a new job", continued Sarah.

3. What motivated you to consider leaving in the first place?

Counter offers typically involve an increase in salary or benefits to encourage staff to stay. While a pay rise may be tempting, our research shows that employees are most likely to look for new job opportunities that offer them better career progression.

Accepting a counter offer purely for the financial benefits may not address the fundamental issues that made you consider leaving in the first place if you are still unable to develop your career and fulfil your ambitions.  

4. Did your employer value you before you considered resigning?

It is worth considering whether you would have received the pay rise or promotion in your counter offer if you hadn’t handed in your notice. If not, are you comfortable working for a company that doesn’t reward its employees until they hand in their resignation?

"In some cases employers will offer an increased salary as a counter offer at the direct expense of a bonus payment, particularly for professionals in fields where their bonus accounts for a significant part of their annual income this can interfere with their financial plans", added Sarah.

If you received a counter offer and would like to discuss your situation with an expert, please don't hesitate to contact us and speak to one of our consultants.

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