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Resigning & Counters offers

Updated: Nov 15, 2021

For the vast majority of people, it will be true to say that your present company has helped you progress professionally and, as a result, you will be feeling uncomfortable and probably nervous about resigning. You will be leaving managers, mentors and colleagues. You may even be leaving friends who you have shared formative moments with, or who you spend time with outside of work.

These people may have been instrumental in advancing your career. All or some of the above may make you feel uneasy and doubt yourself as to whether you are making the right decision. Feeling this way is perfectly normal, and understandable – for most people making a decision to change jobs is huge. However, you’ve decided to make the move…..

So what can I expect when I tender my resignation?

Your company will in most cases be sorry to lose you, as you will have made significant contributions to the work they have produced. You may involved in a project that requires your skills and talent and that they would struggle to complete without you. Put yourself in your manager’s position. What would you do?

The Counter Offer

It is natural to resist change and disruption, and to want to avoid the hassle and cost of finding a replacement; your manager will be no exception. They will want to keep you and, more often than not, will attempt to do so with a counter offer. In their eyes, you’re making a mistake and they will want to stop you taking the new position. Counter offers come in many forms and can have many variations, but the theme is consistent; to try and play on your loyalties and any doubt you may naturally have to get you to stay. Below are a few scenarios, but there plenty of things a manager may do or say to try to keep you:

  • We’d been meaning to review your salary anyway, so let us match the offer you have

  • We were actually already looking at promoting you in the next 3 months, so we can accelerate that now & offer you a promotion

  • We’ll offer you another £x and add it to your next wages, just to show you how valuable we think you are

  • If you could delay your decision until we’ve had a chance to sit down and properly review your position here, I’m sure we can match your ambitions

Implications of the Counter Offer

Of course, it is flattering & it may make you think twice. Your emotions can obscure the reasons behind your decision - it is natural to be apprehensive and doubt can grow the more your manager tries to convince you that you’re making a mistake.

However, ask yourself the following questions:

  • I made the decision to leave because I felt the new position offered me the best environment to fulfil my career needs. If I stay, will the situation here really improve just because I said I was leaving?

  • If I stay, will my loyalty be suspect and affect my chances for promotion once the dust has settled?

  • This salary increase makes me expensive for the job position I’m in – how will that affect any future salary increases?

  • I only got this counter offer because I resigned – will I have to do that the next time I think I’m ready for a raise or promotion?

  • In 3 months’ time, will anything have really changed?

Industry statistics point to 90% of people who accept a counter offer end up leaving within 6 months anyway. In most cases, all the fundamental reasons they felt unhappy enough to look for a new position in the first place remain the same. In essence, nothing changes, and they are still unhappy & decide to move on - often regretful that they didn’t take the opportunity to leave earlier, and in many cases having missed out on a position, now long longer available & that in hindsight, would have been a brilliant career move.

Take an objective view

Career decisions should he made as objectively as possible. They should be free of the emotional pressures you are likely to feel when being urged to reconsider. Take advice from friends, relatives and business associates who aren’t caught up in the day to day of your work life and can help separate the emotions from the facts.

Remember..... The counter offer is only a belated recognition of the contribution you have made. Why didn’t you get the promotion, or salary increase before you resigned? If it had come unprompted, wouldn’t that be a lot more flattering & reassuring that are in the right job? It’s time to make that move. Make yourself as valuable to your new company as you now know you were to your previous one!

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