Counter-Offer: Should I Stay Or Should I Go?
You have been with your current company for a while now, 2-3+ years and while everything is OK you just don’t have that same bounce in your step at work as you once did. You are becoming increasingly bored, disengaged and finding it hard to motivate yourself in your role.
This is not uncommon, especially in today’s workplace where you are not expected to stay at your first company for decades rising through the ranks as you instead seek new and exciting opportunities throughout your career in pursuit of career advancement.
So you begin looking for better opportunities, maybe signing yourself up to a few recruitment agencies job alerts to see what’s out there and registering yourself as actively looking within the market. Soon enough, after a few interesting opportunities arrive you receive a job offer. This new role gets you excited. It offers an increase in responsibility and a salary offer more befitting your perceived value in the market. You jump at the chance and gladly accept the job offer.
This is only the beginning of the story however. You are still going to need to set up a meeting with your current manager informing them of the news. In this meeting you discuss your current work place grievances and site the fact you feel you are not being rewarded for your efforts, that you have been considering a change for some time now and have received an offer that you can’t refuse at this point in your career. Your manager listens respectfully and after some consideration asks you to stay. This may be during the meeting or a day or two later, but the likelihood is that if you are a valued employee your leaving will not be seen in a particularly positive light and your manager will look to keep you in the organisation.
It’s only natural to want to retain talented employees and given that the vast majority of professionals consider the monetary benefits of a career move above all else (employees who change companies every 24 months get paid on average 50% more than those who stay over the course of a career), your manager is likely to offer a financial incentive to try and deter you from resigning, quite possibly alongside a change in job title and promises of career development internally.
We are at a time in 2015 where the economic climate is changing more so than at any point in the past decade. Confidence is rising and you are looking to progress your career after having to curb your aspirations during the hard times of the recession. Fortunately this is a trend seen throughout the UK and as such the demand for top marketing talent is intensifying as marketers look to move onwards and upwards in their careers. The company trying to hire you knows this, you know this, and so does your current organisation.
Now comes the real difficulty, deciding whether to opt for pastures new or to “play it safe” and accept the counter-offer. The fact you are now being offered the opportunity you have craved for a significant amount of time, albeit unnoticed (on the surface at least), is likely to throw a major spanner in the works. Do you go with the exciting new role and have to earn the credibility of your new peers, build new working relationships and learn who the key players are all over again. Or do you take the bump up in salary, responsibility and seniority at your current organisation?
It’s a tough one isn’t it? Well in actual fact no it’s not, it is as straightforward a decision as you are likely to face and here is why:
- Candidates who are bought-back rarely remain within their current role for over a year. You are just as well to take the opportunity to join a business who truly value you and have offered a salary and role reflective of your work and ability.
- The short-lived impetus of a salary boost will wear off leaving the deeper issues mentioned at the beginning of this article (becoming increasingly bored, disengaged and finding it hard to motivate yourself) bubbling at the surface.
- If your current employer genuinely valued your contribution as much as they claim to once you have decided on leaving then they would have certainly progressed you sooner without the need of this ultimatum. Does this mean then that you will have to hold them over a barrel every time you feel you deserve a pay rise and fight tooth and nail for what this other company is more than willing to offer you?
- Your manager now knows he cannot trust you and that you are not fully committed. If he is not already lining up your replacement (a candidate willing to perform your role on a lower salary) he will at the very least be treating you differently.
- Your boss will more than likely be demanding a significant upturn in your performance to match your salary increase that he was forced to give you through your resignation. Expect your performance reviews to be increased and to be watched like a hawk for the foreseeable future.
- The money used to give you an improved salary had to come from somewhere. There is every possibility that is has come from what would have been your next pay rise, meaning you’re likely to be stuck at this level for a long, long time!
- You are sure to be at the top of the list of expendable employees should the business need to make staff cuts as you will be deemed by management as both ‘untrustworthy’ and ‘overpaid’ due to your letter of resignation and resulting pay rise.
- When you do eventually leave for the same reasons further down the line your manager is going to resent you for making them jump through hoops to keep you on board only to throw it back in their face. Meaning you have now burned two bridges in a relatively short period of time – 1. The company you rejected in favour of a counter-offer & 2. The company you toyed with before leaving on bad terms.
In an ideal scenario of course, you wouldn’t be looking to leave at all as your job title, responsibilities and salary would be in line with what you feel you deserve. The best way to go about getting what you want in this regard is to be professional but honest in performance reviews and clearly state your desire to progress in rank and salary. If you’ve done this then when it does come to hand in your notice you know that you have given your current employer every chance and if it’s only now they actually offer you anything its certainly too late.
If you have tried this on several occasions and it is just not working or you are certain you would like a change because you are disillusioned at your company then make sure you have decided exactly what it is that you believe to be important in your career and working life before looking for a new job, and use this to guide you in your search.
When you make the decision to quit, stick to your guns. Be confident in your convictions and demonstrate good character by following through on your decisions and showing you can’t simply be bought by the highest bidder.
If you tackled the matter in a graceful and dignified manner with your current employer then you can leave with your head held high on good terms, knowing with confidence that you chose the best option for your future and haven’t severed any ties that could potentially become an asset later on down the line.
So the choice really is up to you. But whatever you decide to do be sure to think long and hard about it and conduct yourself in a confident, respectful manner throughout the process. After all, you never know when an opportunity may arise for you to work with the jilted party again.