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Should You Accept a Counter Offer After You’ve Resigned?

You’ve found a new job and need to resign …be prepared, you may get a counter-offer! A counter-offer is an attempt by your current company to persuade you to stay. This may consist of a pay rise, a promotion, a change in title or job description, or a combination of these factors. Or even just a promise for change. The key is to present you with an attractive and compelling bid so you withdraw your resignation.

Why it’s tempting to stay

  • Staying is easy. Even with the challenges that made you want to leave in the first place, at least they are known. It can be easier to stay with what is familiar rather than venturing into the unknown.
  • Counter-offers can be ego-inflating. Who wouldn’t be flattered by a bump to their salary or a fancy new title?
  • Doubt and guilt creep in. There may be an underlying threat that by not accepting the counter-offer, you’ll be throwing away the time you’ve put in with your current employer. Or you could feel like you are letting your team and colleagues down.

But is staying the right decision? At Clicks, our team averages 12 years’ industry experience. In our experience, more often than not, accepting counter-offers rarely works out. Whether it’s one month or six, candidates are invariably on the market again, reaching out to us for help.

Here’s what to consider when making the decision

Don’t let ease, fear, or flattery hold you back from missing out on a great opportunity.

  • Reflect on your initial reasons for wanting to leave. Has that changed, or have things at work changed? It is about money, or are the issues that made you look in the first place harder to shift?
  • What is the source of the pay rise? Is this just your next pay rise, granted early? In that case, will the counter-offer simply prolong your review cycle and delay future increases?
  • Counter-offers can be flattering, but is it really about you? Consider what is driving the motivations for the counter-offer? Your departure is likely to impact morale, particularly among your closest colleagues. Your resignation may be perceived as an unfavourable reflection on your manager. Your absence could also jeopardise the progress of an important project and lead to increased workloads for the team members you leave behind. Furthermore, it could be expensive (in terms of time, energy, and money) to replace you. A cheaper ‘solution’ for the company is to make you a counter-offer. That’s why it’s important to weigh up how the organisation has valued and recognised you in the past to determine how much of it is about you.
  • How will staying impact trust at work? Will you forever be a ‘marked’ employee? Even if you accept a counter-offer and stay. Will your relationships and trust at work be compromised due to a perceived lack of loyalty by considering another opportunity? Or will your working relationships remain strong?
  • Look ahead. In addition to drawing up a pros and cons list for staying and going, consider what you may be missing out on in the long term. Make note of the impact on your career and life outside of work if you stay over one year, three years, and five years. This can help you make the right decision for your career in the long run.
  • Will you get to work with great people and leaders, or form friendships at work again? If you are fortunate enough to form friendships at work you will likely stay connected regardless of where you work. You may even be able to work together again in the future! How would you feel if your colleagues left after you decided to stay? What are the benefits to growing your networks at the new organisation?

If you have decided to reject the counter-offer, look ahead to your new opportunity. Think about the fresh challenges and excitement that goes with the start of any journey. If you are experiencing feelings of guilt, remember there is never a good time to quit. Organisations should have contingency and succession plans in place. Resignations are an unfortunate reality in the workplace that should be planned for. Focus on doing a good job in the time you have left and handing over appropriately to set the organisation up for continued success after you leave.

For advice on other job-seeking topics, check out the resources we’ve put together to help you land your next role. If you or someone you know is on the market looking for your next IT opportunity, take a look at our job board to see all of our current vacancies. You can earn $500 for every great person you send our way via our referral program.

Phuong Ong

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