You’ve just accepted a new job offer and gave your present company the required two weeks’ notice. Then, unexpectedly, your current employer approaches you with a counteroffer — a package of incentives that includes a 10% salary bump, more paid time off, beefed-up health insurance and a stipend for a high-level training course. And it’s all yours ... if you choose to stay.
What’s to stop you from telling the other company you’ve changed your mind and shaking hands on your new deal with your current firm? Plenty, as it turns out: In a recent Robert Half survey, 40% of workers who accepted counteroffers to keep them from leaving for another job said they regretted it.
As tempting as the salary increase and additional employee perks may be, staying with your current role following a counteroffer can lead to more problems than simply leaving for a fresh start. So, before accepting a counteroffer, here are some questions to consider:
Will accepting a counteroffer address the real issues?
What prompted you to look at jobs or respond to other inquiries in the first place? If your current work environment is toxic or you have a poor relationship with your boss, no amount of extra salary or perks will make you glad you stuck around.
See Robert Half’s Salary Guide to learn about the latest trends in compensation, perks and benefits.
Will you be regarded as a flight risk?
Although your employer may seem happy to retain you, you could always be seen as the one who almost jumped ship. When a promotion opportunity arises, you may be one of the last people considered because your employer won’t be sure if and when you’ll be putting in your two weeks’ notice again.
Is it too little, too late?
Did you ask for a raise months ago and not get it? Assuming you built a strong case, getting a salary boost now because your boss felt backed into a corner may leave you feeling flat.
If your employer truly values you, they should compensate you fairly and reward excellence without being forced by circumstance.
Will you burn any bridges by accepting a counteroffer?
You risk creating a sour experience with the other firm by reversing your acceptance of their job offer. And remember — word travels fast. If others in the organization see you (however unfairly) as someone who uses job offers to leverage a better deal in your current role, it could damage your professional reputation.
For tips on how to evaluate a compensation package and job offer, read this post.
Could it strain your relationship with your colleagues?
If taking the counteroffer from your current employer means you’ll earn more than your peers, but an elevated title doesn’t come with it, will it feel like you haven’t advanced very far? After all, you’ll be doing the same work, just for more money. If an elevated title is what you’re after, it may be better to move on, especially if you feel you’ve outgrown your role.
Also, news of a raise always seems to get around somehow. Will your colleagues begin to view you differently and wonder why you deserved to get the pay bump if your role hasn’t really changed? That is yet something else to consider when weighing the merits of accepting a counteroffer.
It’s nice to feel valued and wanted. For that reason alone, counteroffers will always be tempting. But the risks are often higher than the rewards. A better plan is to leave your current employer on good terms. If they truly find they can’t live without you, then who knows? You may end up returning on your terms in the future.