Counter-offers: Should you stay or should you go?

Are you stuck wondering whether you should move onto that amazing new job or accept your boss’ counter-offer and stay where you are?

Whether they’re offering you a promotion, more flexibility and responsibility or an increase to your salary, these enticing offers can have you seriously second-guessing your decision to leave. But that’s entirely the point.

On one hand, it’s a fantastic problem to have. You’re obviously doing something right if your employer/boss is willing to up the ante to make you stay. But on the other hand, moving on to a new company could provide you with additional benefits and opportunities that your current employer can’t match.

While the ball is most definitely in your court when it comes to accepting or declining your employer's counter-offer, here are some important things you need to ask yourself before taking the plunge.

Don’t be impulsive

When you’re met with an attractive counter-offer, the feel-good factor of a pay-rise or the feeling of being in demand can be hard to resist. Your emotional attachment to your colleagues and workplace can also play a part in you making rash decisions too. So, rather than just signing on the dotted line there and then, it’s important to refrain from being impulsive and separate your emotions.

Spend a few days to consider all of your options; from the job offer to the terms of the counter-offer. Drawing up a list of pros and cons can help you to focus on the facts, rather than being blindsided by your emotions of leaving your current workplace and colleagues.

You should also discuss the problem thoroughly with close friends and family for additional external views into whether you should stay or not. Doing all of this will ensure that you’re making a well-thought-out decision and not one based on an initial emotional reaction.

Consider why you started looking for a new job

 There must have been a particular reason why you started exploring the jobs market and applying for new roles elsewhere. Perhaps you’ve progressed as far as you can with this particular company or maybe you felt you weren’t progressing quickly enough. Perhaps you’ve lost all interest and motivation for your work or maybe you want to achieve a better work/life balance.

It’s important to consider the reasons you have for wanting to leave and whether or not your employer’s counter-offer can offer a long-term solution that can improve your work life or not. If you enjoy your work but wanted a promotion and your employer offers you one as a counter-offer, then it would make sense to consider staying where you are.

But, if you want to leave because of a toxic work environment or a bad boss, these things are unlikely to change if you stay. So even if your employer offers you some fantastic perks and extra responsibilities, ask yourself whether they’re worth staying put for or if a new role elsewhere could be a better fit.

Find out why your boss wants to keep you around

No matter how incredible your employer’s counter-offer is, it’s vital that you discover the reasons why they want you to stay. Could it be that your boss doesn’t want you to go because you’re one of their best performers or you have a fantastic relationship with your clients? Or maybe they want to retain you because it would be difficult and time-consuming to fill your position or because some of your responsibilities would fall to them?

It can also be beneficial to gauge their response to you potentially leaving to join another company, particularly if they’re a competitor. Be honest and open about your reasons for leaving and take note of how they respond. If they seem angry or betrayed by your decision to look for a new role, staying at your current job might be a lot less enjoyable moving forward.

Also, question whether you would have been rewarded for your hard work to your employer if you hadn’t handed in your notice. If they can offer you a pay-rise, promotion or working style now, is there a reason why they didn’t before?

Finding out your employer’s stance on why they want you to stay may be an awkward conversation to have, but ultimately it could help you gain more negotiation power. Counter-offers are usually negotiable, so there’s no harm in asking your boss to match or even beat the job terms given to you by the external employer.

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18th September

Career Advice