31 May 2022

How to manage a counter offer

How to manage a counter offer.

So, you’ve been thinking about leaving your current employer for a while, be it for career progression, or a higher salary or a mixture of several factors. You have prepped your CV, your recruiter has sent off your applications and you have attended multiple interviews. You now have a job offer from a potential new employer and are super excited to hand your notice in.

Then you are hit with an unexpected counter-offer from your current employer to stay.

Whilst this could look like an exciting alternative (better the devil you know and all that!), you might want to question why the company you currently work for are so keen to keep you. If they are suddenly matching or bettering the financial offer you have received, or giving you a promotion you previously asked for, why didn’t they do this before? Has anything changed within the company that means they are now more attractive to stay with – are those career development opportunities they are suddenly promising definitely going to come to fruition?

You really need to weigh up the reasons WHY you wanted to leave in the first place and why you might now want to stay. Know your worth!!

What to think about

Your current employer may come back with a counter-offer, matching or even bettering your new salary offer, but you need to think about what this means to you both financially and from a career progression perspective – if you stay, what has changed since you initially thought about leaving and will the changes you need to enjoy the role more if you stay come to realisation?

It not always about the money

If your current employer are suddenly offering a better salary and/or package to encourage you to stay – why wasn’t this on offer before. Whilst they might not have been aware on your thoughts about possible leaving, its highly likely you will have highlighted any concerns/ wants in appraisals before with management so if the potential new employer have seen your worth and acted on that, why didn’t your current employer do the same?

Making your decision

 If you decide to stay where you are, you need to ensure your contract is updated and that you have written evidence of the changes your employer intends to offer that have encouraged you to stay, whether that be training or developmental opportunities or a step up the ladder or a better financial package – you need to know the timescales within which your requirements can realistically be achieved.

If you do decide to take the plunge and accept the new role and leave your current employer, its always professional to acknowledge the counter-offer by expressing your gratitude and politely declining with valid reasons to preserve a good relationship. Theres is nothing worse than burning bridges with a former employer by not being upfront about why you want to leave or suddenly leaving them in the lurch. If it was about the money, benefits or lack of career progression, you can diplomatically tell them this so that they are aware for future reference, particularly if you have highlighted issues/topics during previous appraisals which have been overlooked.

A lot of companies will overlook someone for promotion because they are so good at their job they want them to stay, however this doesn’t help you with your career! Its always a good idea to work your full notice period if asked (and if it doesn’t impact your new offer/start dates) to so that you give your employer time to replace you and for you to handover work to someone new. It’s a small world so always best to remain on good terms with those you have worked for wherever possible!

Offer an alternative.

When accepting a new offer of employment, it can put your current company in a bit of a predicament, so always try to think outside the box. If you know of a more junior member of staff who is looking for an opportunity to progress into your role, you may want to highlight what a great replacement you feel that person would be.

Are you loyal?

Once you let your current company know that you have accepted another role, your loyalty may be questioned. They now know you have been looking elsewhere and your loyalty does not necessarily belong with that organisation anymore. Most employers will ask you to work your notice period but don’t be alarmed if you are asked to leave earlier due to potential conflicts of interest – it does happen! Its very rare that someone will work their way up through the ranks to the top without having joined a new employer and gained new experiences and you shouldn’t be afraid to do this.

Stay connected

Lastly, always express your willingness to stay connected. You never know when your paths may cross again, so it is always an innovative idea to preserve any relationships you have built within your industry.

Co-written by Naomi Brown & Alex Elliott