how to know if you should accept a counter offer or not

Your heart is pounding as you walk into your boss’ office, resignation letter in hand. As you share the news that you’re moving to another company, you’re surprised to hear your manager offer you a raise! Here are a few key things to consider before you’ll know if you should stay or you should go. 

What are my reasons for leaving?  

Are you leaving solely for money? Or are there other things that have you gravitating toward a new job? Whether its company culture, your commute or current career path, evaluate the reasons you decided to look for a new role in the first place. Can they be solved through a raise or additional perks offered by your current employer? If not, you may want to think twice about staying.

Write a list of your career aspirations and goals. Where do you see yourself a few years down the line? If you’re pursuing a different passion, craving a change or need more flexibility, consider whether you can realistically accomplish your dreams at your current company.

Will I be valued in the long run?

You likely approached your boss with concerns about pay, flexibility or a promotion before you put in your two weeks. If your issues weren’t resolved before, the proposed counter offer will likely benefit your employer more than it benefits you. In the short term, you may feel valued, but it’s important to ask yourself why this raise is only coming after you shared your plans to part ways.

According to Forbes, studies show the average employee stays with his employer less than a year after accepting a counter offer. This illustrates that although you feel great right now, it may not be the case long-term. Incentives to stay are often offered with the employer’s best interests in mind. They can’t afford to lose someone in your role, and it would be a challenge to find your replacement. In addition, your current employer is now aware that you could be a flight risk and may treat you differently.

How would this impact your relationship with your manager? Once they know you were going to leave, they may no longer feel you are dependable. If your boss can’t trust you, it could impact the type of projects you’re assigned and limit your potential for growth.

What will happen if I stay?

Picture what it will be like to work with your company after you told them you were leaving. Awkward? Uncomfortable? Probably. But there’s more to consider. According to Harvard Business Review, “a risk is that by essentially threatening to go elsewhere, you appear disloyal.” Your employer knows you have one foot out, and that counter offer may be their way to buy time to find your replacement.

In addition, it can be tricky to turn down your new job without burning any bridges. If you’re engaging in a counter offer conversation, you likely already accepted the new position. Be conscious of the time, energy and resources this organization used in the hiring process and recognize the implications of going back on your decision.

All in all, there’s no denying the challenge of being torn between your current job and a new one, so take your time and trust your gut.


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