First thing is first! Before resigning from your current employer you should have taken in to consideration ALL of the factors that affect your motivation and happiness at work. Am I being paid adequately for what I do? Am I ready for a new challenge and opportunity that can’t be accommodated here? Have I outgrown or do I not enjoy the corporate culture? Is the work life balance non-existent? Is the travel too taxing? Do I respect and enjoy working for my boss? Do I feel a sense of security in my role and place in the business?
In the majority of cases, if you have made the decision to resign it is generally for the right reason. One (or many) of your motivators have been affected enough for you to make a move. So if a counter offer is made by your current employer what are the factors that you should consider:
- Money! A counter offer will generally include an increased financial incentive. But is money the only reason that you decided to move on? It is very easy to think that more money will make things better, but very rarely it does. Particularly when you consider that your current employer has probably thrown the money at you as they have panicked and considered the alternative which is hiring and training a new employee from scratch. And what are they going to expect from you for this increase in salary? Will these expectations be realistic? And is this money coming out of your next scheduled bonus or pay rise anyhow?
- Apealing to your emotional side! If you have been a valuable employee who has contributed positively to the company culture you will often find that an existing employer might try to appeal to your emotional connection to the business and play their ‘loyalty’ cards! You might get a lot of praise and thanks (too little too late) and be promised that things will improve and you will be a priority. Think long and hard about this one, can you really see these promises and ongoing appreciation being something that they can commit to? Try not to be swayed by emotions, remain strong and remember you should be approaching a decision about your career in a businesslike manner.
- Buyer beware! So you accept the counter offer in the hope that your resignation was enough to make them aware that they need to change. But what is most likely to happen is that they will always be suspicious of you going forward and you will constantly have to prove our loyalty. We have seen examples of businesses that have given an employee a counter offer, asking them to stay as they have feared not having someone with their skills or experience in the role, then called their recruitment agent to get some feelers out on a replacement just in case you decide to go anyhow. You may have decided to stay and give it a real go, but the business has done what business does best and put their risk strategies in place.
- Are you burning bridges? Particularly if you have accepted another role that is within your industry sector, consider what you are doing to your reputation by accepting a counter offer. What happens if things don’t work out and you want to move on again in 3 or 6 months’ time? What message does it send out to competitors on behalf of your personal brand and that of the business if they know people are looking to leave? And what about the Recruitment Consultant that you asked to work so diligently to find you a new opportunity? Will they be as supportive next time, or concerned about your commitment to move? In a talent short market, people should always be prepared for a counter offer from their current employer, whether they think it is likely or not. Often you are put on the spot to make a decision and when things like money and emotion are in play its sometime difficult to think straight. Thinking it through before resigning will help you to ensure that you have made the right decision in the first place, as well as allowing you to remain strong and focused if the conversation does arise.