How do I manage a counter offer?

Career Guide Seldon-Rosser-How-To-Manage-Counter-Offer

Learning how to manage a counter offer is a critical career skill. Here are our six tips to help you navigate this challenging situation.

Prepare yourself

Be ready to nip any counter in the bud by asking your manager not to counter.  To have invested this much time in a recruitment process means you are already confident that there is nothing your current employer can offer you to stay.  Remind yourself why you started looking for a new job in the first place.

Continue the resignation process

Sometimes despite saying the above the counter will still come.  Your Manager may need to be able to demonstrate to their boss and/or the Partners that they ‘did all they could’ to keep you and so may have to counter despite your protests.  You can help demonstrate your commitment to leaving by continuing to send the formal resignation letter after your meeting.

Reflect objectively

Despite your resolve, it would not be uncommon to feel confused or swayed.  The people countering are people you have spent a lot of time with and built professional friendships with – you have trusted them so far with your career.  Given you are in the office with them, they have a lot of time and access to aim to persuade you.  Give yourself space away from the office to reflect objectively and be strategic about which objective mentors you choose to take advice from during this period.

Understand what is happening

  • Does the counter feel strategic or knee-jerk? Beware of any big changes to team structure or strategy.  How will your role change again the next time someone else resigns and is countered?  Does this give you confidence in the strategic vision for the team?
  • Is it just financial? Often Directors will admit that when they persuade someone to take a financial counter, they have bought themselves just a few more months to find a replacement.  It’s a commonly accepted statistic that over 80 percent of people who accept a counter offer and remain, will leave within six months, realising that nothing has genuinely changed.

Why are you valued now?

Most candidates will realise quickly that a counter-offer does not mean they are any more valued by their manager or employer more broadly today than before they resigned.  It’s purely a reflection of the Manager and firm not wanting to have to deal with the disruption of a staffing change and recruitment process.  If you’ve asked for a pay increase, promotion, new project etc in the past and it hasn’t been forthcoming, be realistic in understanding why now and not then.

Stay in close contact with your new employer

If you find yourself swayed by the counter-offer process, the first thing you should do it organise coffee with your new employer.  They will be very happy to have an informal meeting with no agenda.  This will help you stay focused on where you are going.  It will help calm those nerves and keep you confident about the decision you’ve made and why.

If you are grappling with a counter-offer, please contact us to talk it through.

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