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The Negative Career Effects Of Accepting Counteroffers

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Moving on within your career can be challenging and entering the professional unknown can cause employees to stay put instead of starting over entirely at a new organization. You do the typical steps: give notice, offer to help with transitions, and finish any outstanding projects. On your way out, your boss hits you with a false form of flattery, the counteroffer.

Typically, after an employee puts in a resignation, over 50% of organizations offer a counteroffer as a response within a week. Counteroffers can prove tempting, usually meaning your current employer offers more money, better benefits, or more vacation time.

This all seems great and more than likely exactly what you were looking for when considering a new position somewhere else.

While counteroffers appear attractive, usually there are ulterior motives behind it. Employee resignations can hurt a manager’s record, they specifically want you around to train your replacement, or it is cheaper to pay you more than replace you entirely. Counteroffers can often be characterized as one of the worst decisions a professional can make and here are five reasons why:

1. It Will Not Guarantee Job Satisfaction

Job satisfaction plays a huge role in why employees stay at organizations for a lengthy period. While a counteroffer offers a false sense of hope of better working conditions, it is typically used as a stalling tactic just to give your employer time to prepare for your eventual departure. This means that an employer really is not going to do what is necessary to guarantee your job satisfaction considering most organizations and people do not change overnight. You end up in a familiar place that often cannot meet any personal growth, transformation and satisfaction needs that are desired.

2. Underlying Job Issues Will Not Be Resolved

Usually pay and benefits are not the only reason you consider leaving a job. There could be several reasons that can stem from toxic or lackluster work environments. There could be issues with work hours, workloads, outdated work tools, coworkers, or just not enjoying your job in general. Counteroffers typically only change your salary, and an organization is not going to change its entire base design off the resignation of a few employees. They can however offer an illusion of security for a couple of months only for employees to begin to question “why are they here?”…. again.

Three businessmen sitting at a conference table reviewing documents and listening to a business woman who is standing at the end of the table

3. You Had To Quit To Feel Valued

A counteroffer can make a current employee feel valuable. A handsome increase in pay and benefits are enough to make anyone want to reconsider leaving. But you should be questioning why you could not get this pay and these benefits before. Is this even a distinguishable pay increase for your position? Why did it take you leaving for your current employer to even consider offering you this? Usually this is because the cost of replacing you and paying through another recruitment process is way more expensive than any raise, they gave you to keep you on. A counteroffer is a band-aid used to save an organization time, money, and stress from losing an employee.

4. You Most Likely Would Not Stay Anyway

More money and better benefits in a miserable work environment is not the key to happiness and that is all organizations can really offer when creating Counteroffers. Counteroffers never help long term with employees, in fact, about 80% of employees who have accepted one will end up leaving the business within 6 months. A staggering 93% of those employees will be gone within 18 months. While a counteroffer gave you some benefit for a short amount of time, you personally have lost out on starting a new opportunity that excited you enough to make you want to leave your current employer.

5. Your Employer Will Not Forget You Are Not Satisfied At Work

When you put in your resignation, you expressed why you felt the need to move on from your current organization and this to them can feel like a lack of loyalty between the two parties. While your boss offered a counteroffer, it can seem like this smoothed it all over but, your commitment to your employer will always be in question. Due to what they consider disloyalty, when it is time for promotions, you will get passed over. When it is time for cutbacks during tough seasons, they will begin with you.

Moving Forward For Professional Growth

Group of business people around a conference table high-fiving in celebration

At the end of the day, when an employee puts in a letter of resignation, it is for a good reason. Beyond pay and benefits, there can be a lack of growth within the organization, issues with staff, an impossible workload, or lack of clear management. Accepting a counteroffer keeps individuals in their comfort zone, yes, but is just delaying the inevitability of their departure. Stay professional and firm with your resignation and avoid Counteroffers when making the decision that secures your job satisfaction and overall professional broadening.