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The Counter Offer

Posted on 05 December 2018 by Ken Harbourne

With the market in Ireland heading for full employment, there is an abundance of opportunities and jobs on offer. As a result, counter offers are on the up as employers struggle to hold on to staff.

A counter offer is usually in the form of a salary increase or improved benefits and is offered to an employee after they have handed in their notice. The aim of a counter offer is to make the employee reconsider and stay with their current employer.

At Wallace Myers International we are often asked about counter offers. Should they be offered? Should they be accepted? Here’s our advice.

Speak Up

You’ve come to a point where something about your job is making you unhappy. Before you leave your comfort zone and start looking for a new job raise your concerns with your line manager. If you feel that you can’t raise the matter with the line manager, speak to a HR representative or a different member of the management team for advice.

Be Prepared

Before handing in your notice, prepare a letter of resignation and jot down some notes of things that you would like to say. Talk to a friend or recruiter for advice and make sure you are clear on your reasons for leaving. Consider drafting a script to run through beforehand to settle your nerves and clear your head.

Being prepared will help you to control the conversation.

Be Decisive

Be clear about your decision and you won’t be swayed.

When you tell your employer that you are leaving you might find yourself brought into meetings with Senior Managers who you don’t normally see from one month to the next but who all seem suddenly concerned about you. You will be offered the sun, moon and stars as they try to persuade you to stay.

The longer you have been in the job the more relationships you will have built up and the stronger the emotional bonds with your colleagues and line managers. Long, drawn out conversations to try and convince you otherwise, combined with those strong relationships will chip away at you emotionally. By moving away from rational thought, you might start to doubt your decision and find yourself thinking “It would be easier to stay”, “I know everyone here/I have good friends here/the commute is easy”.

Our advice here is to politely shut the conversation down quickly if you feel it is becoming drawn out. Be firm.

“Remember, promises and actions are two different things”, says Ken Harbourne, MD of Wallace Myers International, “Hold firm and don’t be swayed by emotions. A lot of the time, counter offers happen because the company needs to keep you. Not because they are thinking of your best interests.”

Be Realistic

If you decide to accept a counter offer and stay in your comfort zone it is highly likely that once things get back to business as usual, nothing will change. All the reasons that made you want to leave are still there. Will the extra thousand euros each year and promises made answer to your core needs?

There can also be negative repercussions. You have shown your hand to the company and gone from being considered as a loyal employee to being the one that wanted to leave. Consider how this will affect your promotion prospects and long-term career.

“75% of counter-offered employees leave their jobs within 6-12 months”

2018 has seen counter offers become the norm across industry types. Taking control of your career is a positive step and an empowering one. So, when your job is making you unhappy raise your concerns. If they are not handled make a decision and stick to your guns. Remember, "a ship is safest when it’s in port but that is not what ships are made for"*.  Make the leap.


Video: Managing The Counter Offer









*John Shedd

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