Counteroffers Are Evil

Giving into temptation is one of the most unfortunate of human traits. We salivate at the thought of taking that forbidden apple – we know deep down that it is bad for us, but push those feelings to one side. It simply looks too tasty.

Temptation is not only about physical treats, it is also about the promises of feelings and experiences that are yet to pass. We know that these things are never going to happen, but we choose to believe, and it is this very choice that makes us complicit in the promise. When we buy into a lie, we accept the lie, and it becomes part of our life.

These feelings often cross my mind when candidates accept counteroffers from their companies.

For the uninitiated, a counteroffer is when a person informs their company that they will be leaving, and the company offers them improved employment terms in order to “convince” them to stay. This may be an increase in salary, a better bonus scheme or even a promotion.

You might say that this is a sign that a company values their employee, but in the vast majority of cases, a counteroffer is an attempt temporarily to mitigate the business impact of losing that person. Finding a replacement is rarely a simple matter, and as soon as a person offers their resignation, the search for a replacement begins in the heads of their superiors, no matter whether that person stays or leaves.

It goes without saying that no one should leave a company without attempting to improve their situation before it comes to a job search. Performance reviews give a chance for two-way feedback: if your company is open to giving you that raise, they should do it on the back of good performance, not just when their backs are forced against the wall when you send that fateful ”I’m leaving” email.

Most candidates are aware that their company will possibly try to keep them, and too many are swayed by the comforting thought of getting something “extra” with no added risk of starting a new job. However, the reality is that once you have tendered your resignation, you are a “dead man walking.” There are many statistics quoted, but the one that sticks in my mind states that 80% of candidates, who accept a counteroffer, are back on the market within six months. Why would you do it?

Have the courage of your convictions and don’t keep eating the last few tasty apples on the already rotten tree. There are many trees out there with all manner of all-you-can-eat goodness, but it takes a leap of faith to climb onto the next one.

The counteroffer tempts far too many people to delay their move to that next tree. Life is too short to waste if on false promises. Once you have made that decision to go, follow through with it with all your energy.

Change can sometimes fuel the most amazing growth – don’t let any sort of comforting temptation get in your way.