A counteroffer is when an employer makes a new or revised job offer to an employee in response to that employee’s threat of resigning, usually in order to entice the employee to stay with the company.
There are several reasons why companies present counteroffers, including:
- By making a slightly better job offer, the company hopes it can persuade the disgruntled employee into staying put rather than risk them leaving for another organization or a competitor.
- The company wants to keep the employee and their knowledge within the organization.
- The company does not have time or resources dedicated to recruiting and training a replacement.
- It costs less money for the company to keep existing employees than it would be to hire and train new ones.
Why You Should Not Accept a Counteroffer
While there may be some advantages for employees who accept counteroffers, there are also many potential risks associated with doing so.
- Damaged Relationship with your Employer
You could end up staying with your current company at least temporarily, but you may find yourself feeling resentful toward your employer for low-balling you in the first place. This resentment could damage your working relationship going forward. Your boss may see you as disloyal for even considering leaving and this could impact future opportunities within the company, such as being passed over for promotions or receiving negative performance reviews.
- Damage to your Professional Reputation
If you accept a counteroffer from your current employer after telling them that you were leaving, it could damage your reputation both inside and outside of the organization. This could make it difficult for you if you ever decide to leave again in the future. By accepting a counteroffer, you signal to other potential employers that you’re likely to jump ship if given enough incentive—not exactly the message you want to project when looking for a new job.
- Increased Resentment from Coworkers
Your coworkers may resent you for receiving special treatment or more money while they continue working under the same conditions as before. This can lead to tension and conflict within teams and departments.
- Loss of Leverage
Once you’ve told your employer that you’re planning on leaving, you lose any negotiating power that you had regarding salary or other benefits. Counteroffers often come with strings attached. In order to receive the higher salary or improved benefits, you may have to agree to work longer hours, take on extra assignments, or forego vacation days. Essentially, your boss is trying to buy your loyalty and commitment by offering more money. This can lead to burnout and resentment down the road.
- No Guarantee it Will Work Out
Just because your current employer makes a counteroffer explaining how much they value working everything out may seem like a great idea but there’s no real guarantee things will be the same within year or your time there will be someone wanting to pull a trick on you.
- Counteroffers rarely solve underlying problems
The fact that the employer can make a rush decision to come up with more money or extra concessions proves that there were significant flaws in your compensation package initially. The underlying problem still remains unaddressed. Oftentimes people who accept employment counteroffers only end up solving temporary issues. Which means it is likely that soon enough you’ll be starting the whole process all over again.
If you are considering accepting a counteroffer from your current employer it is important evaluate all aspects of the situation before making your final decision. What are your long-term career goals? Does this new position help you get closer towards them? What concerns about your current role led you to look for new opportunities in the first place? Will these issues be resolved if you stay with your current company? How much would it cost financially and emotionally if you were to stay at your current company? Are those costs worth it given what’s being offered?
Remember, there are often underlying issues that led to your decision to leave in the first place, such as lack of career advancement opportunities or poor workplace culture. These issues will still likely be present even if you take a counteroffer, which means there is nothing saying that you don’t will end up in the same position a few months down the road.