The Ugly Truth about Accepting a Counteroffer

Companies in the manufacturing industry often invest a lot in specialized staff training.  Because of this heavy investment in their workforce, not only do employees become valuable assets, but they are also prime targets for competitors and other headhunters.  When you are a valuable employee and you resign, your employer may not throw a party.  If they feel that you are especially valuable, or that it might cost a great deal to replace you, they may prepare a counter offer. This counter offer will make you feel flattered, but don’t be deceived.  Before you start wondering whether to take that sweetened deal, you have to some things to think about.

Research done by Christian &Timbers, a leading Performance Consulting firm, reveals that employees who yield to counteroffers typically end up leaving the firm after only six months, despite accepting a new and better offer.  Research done by National Association of Personnel Consultants actually confirms that more that 80% of employees who accept counteroffers no longer work with the same company after six months.  It is really important to know if accepting a counteroffer will lead to a permanent solution or just a temporary fix.  You have to really know why you are leaving the company and what is driving the counter offer.  There are many reasons why a counter offer may be given to you if you are contemplating a resignation, but most are not in your best interest.

“The company’s motive for a counteroffer is usually to protect itself, the stability of the company or work group, and the project(s) that the resigning employee is currently working on,” says Seth O. Harris, a technologist and partner at Christian & Timbers.  Most of the time, counteroffers are made so the company can avoid the risk of losing productivity or revenue after you’ve left.  In this case, your worth as an employee seems to increase, but why weren’t they paying you more in the first place?  First off, if they truly valued you, they should not have waited for your resignation letter before they gave you a promotion.  “I define a counteroffer simply as an inducement from your current employer to get you to stay after you’ve announced your intention to take another job,” states Paul Hawkinson, a publisher of the Fordyce Letter and a former recruiter, “counteroffers are usually nothing more than stall devices to give your employer time to replace you.”

Once you have made it clear that you want to move to a different employer, your loyalty will always be in question.  When your loyalty is lost you are no longer considered a “team-member” and you lose your place in the inner circle of the company.  The trust has been broken.

Another thing to consider, if you have accepted a job with another company, and then back out, you don’t only hurt the reputation of yourself, but also your recruiter.  You can be sure of two things.  This recruiter will no longer want to support you and the employer you backed out on will never consider you again and could possibly bad-mouth you within your industry.  If this happens it could hurt your chances of finding employment when you have to resume your job search.

One other remark, there is that rare person who thinks if they get another job offer, they will have leverage to get a raise within their current company.  They conduct a job search and accept an offer with the primary intention of being able to get a counter offer.  Not only is this unethical, but they are putting a lot at risk.  The probability this won’t come back to bite them is really not weighed in their favor.

That is the ugly truth about accepting counteroffers. It is rarely a good idea, but in case you do accept the counteroffer, just make sure everything you have agreed upon in writing and signed is really agreeable to you.  Don’t be afraid to request some additional perks or benefits, or perhaps an even higher salary than the counteroffer proposes.  Even if all of your demands are met, keep in mind, there is a reason you felt compelled to leave; don’t let yourself forget why you took the other offer in the first place.  Consider what the best choice for your long-term career and professional growth may be.

Has a counteroffer ever been made to you?  What factors influenced your decision to take it or not?

by:  Anjela Mangrum, CPC

Anjela Mangrum is the founder of Mangrum Career Solutions Inc.  MCS partners with industrial and machining manufacturing businesses to source and secure mid-to-upper level talent for operations, supply chain, and engineering positions.  They work to empower individual job seekers by helping them gain a competitive edge in their job search. For hiring needs contact Anjela at 513.753.3813 x101.

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