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Should you accept a counter offer from your current employer?

Counter offer: Accept or Reject | Pros & Cons

If any of this sounds familiar, this article is meant for you.
– Your current employment feels less and less rewarding each day.
– You have considered shopping around for a better job opportunity. One that perhaps meets your financial requirements, better time management and/or better job role.
– You have found your drool worthy job and you can’t keep it a secret from your current boss anymore. But instead of being upset or oddly happy to see you go, your boss throws you a curve-ball. A Counter Offer.

Well, now that you are sufficiently hooked to finding out what happens next, let’s digress a little bit and find out why would anyone, in this age of economic instability, ever want to leave their current position?

Isn’t everyone aware of the old adage? You know, the one which goes something like An offer in hand is better than two in the mail….or something terribly close to that. What if the new place doesn’t yield as promised? What if you move to something neither as familiar nor happier?

You will have to go through the first few weeks, yet again, to find out which coworkers to avoid. You will have to find out, yet again, the best secluded spot for that afternoon chat with your significant other.

And of course, you will have to diligently work at finding out, yet again, your new boss’s weaknesses. Sir, I must say, your cat is smarter than my kids!! So may I take the rest of the day off?

So the question is – Do people really risk quitting their jobs to move to something potentially better, but not yet familiar?

The answer is that people quit jobs everyday. The reasons may range from unhappiness with the quality of work, displeasure with the quantity – from too much to sometimes even too little, discontent with the compensation or a general lack of compatibility with coworkers.

In fact, a survey by the global management consultancy Hay Group, back in 2012, found out that unlike our predecessors, Indians today feel less committed to their current jobs. Nearly 33% of currently employed Indians will be leaving their job in the next two years, according to the aforementioned study.

So if you are indeed one of those 33% workers, who has decided to quit, you have to complete one last unavoidable task at your current job – let your boss know.

Will you get a counter offer from your current company?

Unlike what you have ever expected, what if your boss offers you attractive returns for just staying put?

He offers you a promotion, a raise, better working hours, more leaves and even throws in the possibility of transferring your competitor to the branch fifty miles away. In fact, he begs you to stay and shows you the first few lines of the poem he just wrote in your honor.

You’re such a jolly good fellow
If you were to stay with us
Will give you a raise, no fuss
Will move you up by a grade or two
Have the corner office emptied, just for you!

A great counter offer, it is.  A counter offer to trump your offer from your new employer. You suddenly feel a rush of warmth and recognition from your current boss.

You accept the new terms and decide to stay.

It is certainly the validation you had always desired.  But just hold back the euphoria for a second and ask yourself another question.

Is it a good idea to accept counter offers from your current employer?

Let’s explore.

Should I accept or reject the counter offer?

Think about the following points.

1. So your boss has offered you more money. Where did it come from? If he has raised your salary, why didn’t he offer it before? Did it come from a fund that was going to hike salaries anyway?

2. Your boss certainly knows now that you were willing to choose sides. Do you think he can forget that and not harbor a grudge? Will he trust your loyalty to the company anymore?

3. And when it’s the season to be cutting down costs and laying off people, maybe he will suddenly remember the guy who was eager to leave anyway. In fact, staffing agencies estimate a significantly large percentage of people leave after accepting counter offers, rather soon and not always of their own free will.

4. What about your coworkers? They too know that you got promoted or compensated financially by threatening to leave. That may not make you fall under the category of the great guy next cube. The one they can count on, in hard times!

5. Is this a quick fix tactic of your boss to show that he is able to retain employees? After all hiring and training a new person is a tedious and long drawn solution. Would he still be looking for fresh blood, behind the scenes, after asking you to stay?

6. Were you only implored to stay because of some deadline demand? Would your boss dispose off you once the current needs are met?

7. Why did your boss wait for you to threaten to leave before offering you a well deserved package?

8. Do you think the unhappiness, displeasure, discontent and the incompatibility- you know the basic reasons that compelled you to flirt with the idea of a change, will just suddenly disappear?
Moving to a brand new job is intimidating to a certain extent. It is a fresh start and yet, it is a fresh start all over again. So it is easy to understand the appeal of an offer from your current all too familiar job, one that pretty much satisfies your demands. But before you jump to accept it, please be aware of the above caveats.

Remember that counter offers are often a quick and easy way to fix a troubled situation. Not yours, but theirs, your employer’s. The reasons that led you to decide for elsewhere will remain-albeit with different parameters.

While it could be true that your employer was just slow to act and didn’t recognize your grievances until you made them apparent, it could also be true that they are not prepared to let you go ‘coz they are not done with you yet. Not because they really care.

In fact, companies that really care should be having better communication with their employees in the form of periodic reviews and evaluations. Such a structure would certainly eliminate ambiguities on either side and lay down the facts for both to see.

Dissatisfaction and discontent can be a two way emotion and should be taken care of well before things ever culminate to either one of you taking a major step, such as quitting or firing.

Or maybe all of the above are just paranoid ramblings of a cynic. Maybe there are happy endings with ones’ own company post accepting any counter offers. But maybe there is a possibility that your commitment is better deserved at a job which doesn’t need a wake up call to see that you were uncared for. And just maybe if they didn’t care then, they will not really care again. Do you really want to take that chance?
Sources: 1, 2, 3

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Rakhi Acharyya
About Rakhi Acharyya
Rakhi is a freelance writer, a Physics PhD from Michigan State University, an ex-teacher and a former employee of Corporate America. Follow her on Twitter.

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