A counteroffer is an offer extended by your employer in attempt to rival another offer you are considering elsewhere, to convince you to stay with your current company. They usually include things like a salary increase, additional benefits, a promotion, or change in responsibilities. Employers make counteroffers for several reasons–to delay costs incurred as a result of your departure, to avoid having to find a replacement and then dealing with training someone new, to not be forced into filling your position on such short notice, and to avoid the negative effect on morale due to loss of staff at the company.
Counteroffers are often quite tempting, but is it really wise to accept one? Here are some pros and cons to consider in this situation:
- More money and/or benefits
- Possibly different responsibilities or a position that will further your career
- Your commitment to the company is now in question. This lack of loyalty will be remembered come time for raises, promotions, and cutbacks.
- After the panicked offer is extended to avoid the short-term impact of losing you, your manager could be resentful because he feels like you worked him for more money, benefits, etc.
- You could be resentful knowing it took the threat of leaving for you to be appropriately compensated and recognized for your work.
- If the reason that drove you to look for a new job wasn’t something negotiated into the counteroffer (which it often is not), then accepting the counteroffer will not increase your job satisfaction in this position. You will probably continue feeling frustrated with the issues that disgruntled you in the first place.
- Your relationship with your boss, coworkers, and the company can suffer. Peers could be irritated and envious that you essentially got more money by threatening to leave. The employer may lose trust in you, and the sense of being a team could decrease.
Clearly, there are usually more cons than pros to accepting a counteroffer. Most cases in which an employee chooses to accept, it does not work out as ideally as planned, and does not last. Whether because the employer ends up finding a replacement for you in his own time after you accept the counteroffer or because you still don’t find the job satisfaction you were looking for, statistics show that most likely you will leave the job within six months of accepting the counteroffer anyway.
Never say never
While the majority of the time accepting a counteroffer does not turn out to be the best decision, there are occasional exceptions. Depending on the reasons for your original dissatisfaction and the specifics of your situation, accepting could work out to your advantage. Just keep in mind, that’s the rare exception, and if you are to the point of looking for a job elsewhere, maybe it is time to start growing, learning, and earning elsewhere. The best advice: follow your gut. You know the situation and the people better than anyone else.
When considering what to do, ask yourself: What is most important to me in a job? Is a salary increase really enough or do I need a bigger change? How would my boss and coworkers treat me differently if I accepted a counteroffer and decided to stay after having put in my resignation?
Alternative ways to handle job dissatisfaction
If you’re dissatisfied with your job but you see potential and aren’t 100% ready to leave, there are other things to try before turning in your resignation. First, evaluate exactly why you’re unhappy in your position. Are these things changeable? Meet with your boss and discuss your concerns, present possible solutions, and see what he can offer. Sometimes, issues like flexibility, responsibilities, and even raises and promotions are realistic possibilities if you just bring them up. However, things are unlikely to change without ever initiating a discussion. Don’t make threats. Instead, ask for career advice and talk about what will be available to you in your future with this company.
To have this kind of conversation, you must be a solid performer. If you are a mediocre employee that hasn’t really put in the work and time to deserve more, then it’s probably not wise to ask.
After meeting with your boss, if there are no signs of upcoming change, then start looking around. See if there are job opportunities that would be better for you and your career. When the time comes to accept another offer and move on, it’s best to be sure of your next move before you submit your resignation. You should be positive that the new job is what you want so you won’t be swayed if you’re presented with a counteroffer.