Combating Counteroffers: We’re Not Out of the Woods Yet!

April 5th, 2012 | Articles, Counteroffers | No Comments »

Sitting in your boss’s office, you just delivered the speech you’ve been reciting to yourself for the last week: you found another job where you will be recognized and rewarded for your true worth. The hand is on the other side of the table and your boss decides to not let you go. Now, you are “irreplaceable.” Now, “every project will fall apart without you.” Now, you are made a counteroffer with more zeroes than you expected. What do you do?

This counteroffer may be characterized by pleading or flattery or the gnashing of teeth but ultimately ends with an overwhelming “greater” offer. Employers everywhere use this tactic to keep top performers in the fold but what is their ultimate aim? National statistics show that 89% of people who accept counteroffers are gone within six months. Here are a few reasons why:

Replacing the Irreplaceable: Your boss may characterize you as irreplaceable or indispensible now but more than likely, they are aggressively seeking your replacement. The counteroffer is often used to lull you into a sense of false security while they determine the best person to take your job. This tactic allows them to end the employment relationship on their terms, severing you at the first opportunity.

You Have Declared Your Lack of Loyalty: You were willing to leave before, what will prevent you from leaving in the future? That question is constantly mulling in the minds of management. You have marked yourself as a disloyal associate, out of line with the actively engaged members of their team. When cutbacks become necessary, you will be their first choice and when opportunities for advancement present themselves, you will be their last.

Your Passion Will Never Be the Same: Upon finding another job, you mentally prepare yourself for the coming departure. You focus on wrapping up loose ends and completing projects to their full extent; thoughts of the future lose their priority. Upon accepting the counteroffer, rekindling your passion can be a difficult, often insurmountable task leading only to further wanderlust. Ultimately, your days with the company are numbered.

Nothing Has Changed: The reasons that encouraged you to leave in the first place have not changed. Whether your work environment failed to stimulate you or you were inadequately recognized for your achievements, these issues will stagnantly remain the same. In most cases, management learns nothing from your threat to leave and you will only repeat the same song and dance months down the road.

When your boss makes that counteroffer, follow Nancy Reagan’s lead and “Just Say No.” The seeds of discontent have been sown and both parties will eventually tire of the mutual partnership. Skip the inevitable, cut the cord and take the new job. Your future and self-worth deserve better.

by James Walsh