Received a counter offer? Here's what you can do.

You applied for another job and got it. Go you! However, your current employer doesn’t want you to leave and suddenly you have a counter offer. Maybe you didn’t see it coming, or maybe you should have. Either ways, it’s on the table now and you have to deal with it.

Should you stay or should you go?

Whether there is high unemployment or not, losing your skills and experience will always cause a problem for your employer. Employers know how hard it is to find a good employee, and are increasingly likely to make counter offers. There have been many studies showing that employers are highly motivated to make a counter offer.

If you’ve never received a counter offer before, here’s what you can do to navigate this process:

Understand that counter offers are about the employer, not you

It is so flattering to receive a counter offer. However, understand that it is more about solving the employer’s problem and not yours. You’ve presented your resignation letter and they will now have the difficult task of finding a suitable candidate to replace you. Add to this the task of replacing organisational knowledge, training and lost productivity and revenue.

It’s usually easier for the employer if you don’t leave. No-one wants productive employees to leave. A counter offer may keep you around long enough for them to plan for your inevitable departure or, look for a suitable replacement. That is why it’s important to contemplate the next few steps.

Assume you’re going to receive a counter offer

Make a list of the pros and cons of your current job, at the time of the final interviews. Compare that to the pros and cons of the new job offer. Most of the time there’s the component of salary in counter offers. Things that you should also look out for is career path and job satisfaction, more than money.

If you don’t like the work environment, no amount of added perks will change that in the future. It is important to understand the whole value of the new job offer.

You will burn some bridges

Whether you accept or reject the counter offer, you will burn a bridge with someone. You’ve spent interview time with the new employer and turning them down will mean they’ll have to start over. They may also end up thinking you’re unprofessional and not consider you for future roles.

Meanwhile, your current employer might be questioning your loyalty in the future. In tumultuous times, you might be impacted first because of this.

Role play a counter offer situation

Find a trusted peer and role play the situation with them. Practice your response and feel comfortable saying it out loud. Prepare yourself and make sure you know why you are really leaving. List three key motivators for changing your job and share these with your current employer.

Whatever you chose to do, remember to thank your current employer for the good bits. The learning, growth and professional experience they’ve provided is what has enabled you to be in this situation of receiving a counter offer!

Receiving a counter offer is definitely a risky situation to be in. Don’t allow guilt or anxiety to make a decision for you. Understand and analyse your situation and career path clearly before making the move. Focus on the good things waiting for you and move forward with confidence

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