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How to deal with that counter offer

It’s a nice position to be in, but how do you deal with it, asks Karen Young

June 2016

After your job applications, interviews and then the excitement of accepting a new job offer, you will of course need to approach your employer and hand in your notice. It is at this point that your employer may make you a counter-offer to try to change your mind and get you to stay. This could take many forms: a straight increase in basic salary, additional company benefits, a sought-after promotion or new job title, additional responsibility, a change in role, more involvement in projects that interest you – or any combination of these, and it may catch you off guard. It can be a difficult dilemma and upset the plans you have in place when you hand your notice in, but it doesn’t need to be.
Here’s how to handle a counter-offer.
Be clear in your resignation letter: Firstly, try to avoid being put in the position of having to deal with the awkward situation of a counter-offer. Be clear in the detail of your resignation letter and that you are intent on leaving, and not interested in receiving any counter-offer scenario.
Don’t act in haste: Next, if you receive a counter-offer, don’t accept in haste in a moment of flattery. If you have planned to leave and are confronted with something that could upset your plans, don’t let anyone persuade you into doing something you really don’t want to do.
Be honest with yourself: Be honest with yourself about your reason for leaving your job. Think about the reasons that you wanted to leave in the first place and why you started a new job search. Our research, the Hays UK Salary & Recruiting Trends 2016 report, found that the top reason stated by finance professionals for leaving their current role (29%) was a lack of future opportunities. Therefore, think carefully if a change in benefits or increased salary will truly satisfy you in the long term.
Consider the longer term impact: Consider how accepting a counter-offer will make you appear to your employer and organisation. Once you’ve stated your intentions to leave your loyalty will always be in question. You’ve made it clear that you don’t necessarily see your long-term career progressing within this organisation, so you’ve got to think about whether this will affect your employer’s decision-making when considering future promotions.
Will you still want to stay? If you are tempted to consider a counter-offer, will you get itchy feet to leave again shortly? It is telling that the Hays UK Salary & Recruiting Trends 2016 research found that 58% of employers said they counter-offered employees, but that only half of these employees were still with their organisation a year after receiving the counter offer.
Do the job you want to do: We all spend a significant part of our day – and lives – in the office, so make sure that you are happy doing the job that you want to do. Do not let an unexpected counter-offer stop you in your tracks. Thank your employer for the opportunity and politely reaffirm your intention to leave, unless the counter-offer sufficiently meets your desires.
If you receive a counter offer you will need to consider your original reasons for leaving – if the cons still outweigh the pros your decision to resign was right. Being absolutely sure you are doing the right thing for your own career is crucial.
Compare your salary and benefits with the Hays UK Salary & Recruiting Trends 2016 report at salaryguide.hays.co.uk
• Karen Young, Director, Hays Accountancy and Finance

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