Counter offers- what to know and what to do

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I posted a video last week about the difficult subject of counter offers. For those who aren’t sure what that means, it’s a situation you find yourself in when you go to hand in  your notice for a better paid job and your current employer offers you more money to stay. Awkward right? As recruiters we come up against this every so often and wanted to put together some points to remember should you find yourself in this tricky situation.

Coming face to face with a counter offer can be quite a dangerous place to be. Think about your reasons for wanting to leave in the first place: Was it purely down to money? Had you previously asked for a payrise before starting a job search? Our guess is that you had and it was refused. Now that another company is willing to value you higher financially, all of a sudden your employer can not only match, but beat it. But where does that leave you should you decide to accept it and stay where you are?

TRUST: Once you have alerted your employer to the fact that not only are  you looking for a new job but have actively been out interviewing, you risk that trust being broken. Even if they offer you more money to stay, it’s likely because they need you right now. Your absence would be a huge inconvenience as well as costly and time consuming to replace you. It could be a knee jerk reaction to you advising them you are leaving. But, you have now sown that seed of doubt in their minds that you’re not actually happy and at some point in the near future could leave. Does it mean they’ll give you more money but will be unwilling to invest much further in your development because they aren’t sure of your loyalty? And what’s to stop them keeping an eye out for someone to replace you anyway because they know you’ll probably go?

ARE YOU ADDRESSING THE REAL ISSUES? Accepting a counter offer because its “easier” to stay put can mean you aren’t looking at what’s been frustrating you in your role and have been blindsided by the money. Remove the extra cash – will anything else change? What about the fact you are constantly denied training or development? How about the environment, the commute, the management, the opportunities for progression? It’s often that case that people who accept counter offers are looking again for a new role within 6 -12 months because the real reasons they wanted to leave are still bothering them.

BURNING BRIDGES: The company you then go back to and say you aren’t joining will certainly not be pleased. You’ve beaten everyone else to secure a role with them, they believed you wanted to leave for a whole host of reasons and then it comes down to who throws the most money at you. It’s highly unlikely they will enter in to a bidding war and increase their offer and most (sensible!) recruiters would advise you not to go down that route. If this opportunity was genuinely a better one and a company you think you’d like to work for in the future, you run the risk of leaving them with a less than favourable opinion of you should you want to apply again in time.

So when should you seriously consider a counter offer? Sometimes, it might be right to stay.

MONEY: If it really WAS all about money and everything else was perfect in the job. But just remember the trust issue above- you’d have to work really hard to prove to your employer you aren’t going to do this again.

HAPPINESS AND SUCCESS: If you genuinely feel you’ll be happier where you are then that’s the reason to stay.  Maybe you didn’t communicate to anyone how you were feeling and your employer is devastated and wants to make things right. If you believe in your management team that they’ll deliver what they promise you when you hand your notice in, by all means give it a go.

We would ALWAYS suggest that if there is anything you are unhappy with in your role that you speak to your manager or HR department before commencing your job search. You are then giving them an opportunity to rectify what it is that’s bothering you. Should they not be able to for whatever reasons (budget, limited opportunities, lack of willing), you have at least shown maturity and professionalism by asking before you put them in a situation where they may feel they are backed in to a corner. If your issues and concerns aren’t addressed and you go ahead and accept another job, we’d highly recommend that you think very carefully about taking a counter offer should one come your way…

If you’re in the travel industry and are looking for a role within Corporate Travel please do get in touch with us! We’re always available for a chat about your current situation and what you’re looking for.

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