Accepting a counter offer may be a bad choice

Some employers can make resigning difficult. If they don’t want to lose a valued performer, they may come back to you with a counter offer. Counter offers can be flattering and surprising, but are often confusing. New responsibilities, more money, and promises of change may be offered. What should you do?

A counter offer is usually a short-term fix. Statistics show that the vast majority of people who accept a counter offer are looking for a new opportunity within a year.

If you find yourself giving the counter offer consideration, keep the following in mind as you examine the options:

  • You considered leaving your current position for one or more reasons. The factors influencing your decision are likely to remain the same.
    • A counter offer is usually a short-term fix. Statistics show that the vast majority of people who accept a counter offer are looking for a new opportunity within a year.
  • Making a career move is a big decision. Change can be exciting, as well as stressful. Accepting a counter offer may seem like the easy answer, but it usually is not the right answer.
  • The core of most counter offers is money. While money is important, it rarely drives long-term career satisfaction.
  • Your loyalty and dedication to the company may be questioned going forward, by both leadership and your team.
  • Your current employer may just be “buying time” to find your replacement.
  • Accepting the counter offer may damage your reputation with your would-be employer and any future opportunities there.

You want to leave your current position on good terms. Politely decline the counter offer and show your appreciation. Avoid making the tempting comments about it being too little, too late. You gave your word to your future employer that you will accept the new opportunity and your former employer should respect this.