Counter offers

You should be prepared for a counter offer from your current employer. There are several reasons why they might attempt this tactic:

  1. It is much cheaper to keep you than lose you. There is always down-time when replacing an employee.
  2. Morale suffers. Your company runs the risk of others following your lead.
  3. Counter offers protect Management from looking bad. Your manager is being judged on his ability to retain staff.

You can expect to hear any number of things from management:

  1. I am really shocked. I thought you were as happy with us as we were with you. Let’s discuss it before you make your final decision.
  2. I have been meaning to keep it confidential, but let me tell you about the great plans we have for you.
  3. The VP has you in mind for some exciting and expanding responsibilities.
  4. Your raise was scheduled to go into effect next quarter. What is the soliciting offer? We will beat it and make it effective now.
  5. Just hold on another 2 months and then we will give you that promotion.

Who are you going to work for? Your current employer may badmouth your new employer to try and get you to stay.

  1. The idle threat: You know, we could sue you if you leave with confidential information and go to a competitor. But, of course, we would not do this.
  2. How can you leave at this critical stage of the project. (Beginning, middle or end, you are always at a critical stage in a project.)
  3. The bottom line is your initial reasons for leaving still exist. No matter what the company says when making the counter offer, you will always be a fidelity risk. Your loyalty will be questioned.

Remember that there are other considerations:

  1. Will you have to threaten to quit every time you deserve a raise?
  2. Any situation is suspect when an employee must receive an outside offer before the present employer will suggest a raise, promotion or better situation.
  3. Counter offers are usually nothing more than stall tactics to give your employer time to replace you. Your reasons for leaving still exist. They will be just slightly more tolerable in the short term because of the raise or promotion or other promises they made to keep you.
  4. Decent and well-managed companies do not make counter offers EVER. They will never be subjected to counter offer extortion, which they perceive as blackmail.
  5. By accepting a counter offer, you have committed the unprofessional and unethical sin of breaking your commitment to your prospective employer.
  6. Most importantly, no matter what the company says when making its counter offer, you will always be a loyalty risk. Having once demonstrated your lack of loyalty (for whatever reason), you will lose your status as a team player and your place in the inner circle.

If the urge to accept a counter offer hits you, keep clearing out your desk and count your blessings. Your reasons for leaving in the first place still exist!


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Phone: 416-502-2545 Ext. 227
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