How to Handle a Counteroffer from your Current Employer

How to Handle a Counteroffer from your Current Employer
Chris Beckenham

5 mins

How to Handle a Counteroffer from your Current Employer

When your decision to leave is met with a counteroffer from your current employer, leaving can become even tougher. Learn how to handle a counteroffer from a current employer with Chris Beckenham, Chemicals Team Lead.

Congratulations! You’ve pushed through the daunting experience of interviews and waiting times, possible rejections, and a whole heap of emotions. Finding a new job can be overwhelming for many. Fear of change, and new beginnings, taking risks, and leaving secure positions can all contribute to this; however, a deep breath and a large leap of faith can land you in a new place more suited and beneficial for you.

When your decision to leave is met with a counteroffer from your current employer, leaving can become even tougher. Doubt surface around your decision, and your subconscious may force you to question your loyalty, or lack of, leaving you racked with guilt over putting yourself and your career progression first.

In this article, we will guide you on how to handle a counteroffer from a current employer.

Read on to discover: 

  • What is a counteroffer?
  • The potential risks of settling
  • How to handle a counteroffer

What is a counteroffer?

A counteroffer, in recruitment circumstances, is typically given in response to an existing offer, already provided to the employee by their prospective employer. It is the employer’s attempt to retain the employee and persuade them into retracting their resignation. This usually occurs once the employee has handed in their notice. As a counteroffer is given with the intent to make the employee reconsider their resignation, it tends to offer attractive advantages such as a pay raise or promotion.

In current times employee retention has never been so prominently important to an employer, which is why they may try a counteroffer. Attracting and retaining an employee is key to building and maintaining a successful business, as satisfied employees make for a positive company culture. This is not to say all employees will remain in the same role at the same company for their full career. As people progress, their careers tend to follow, meaning employees may reach a point where they feel it is time to move on.

The potential risks of settling

When a counteroffer is made, it’s always important to be hyper-aware of the truth behind why the employer is pleading with you to stay. Employers are never keen to lose hard-working employees, however, this doesn’t mean the counteroffer at hand has come from a heartfelt place.

On average it can cost a business up to £3,000 when hiring a new staff member via recruitment consultancy. Employers are vastly aware of the costs involved when welcoming a replacement to the business, the money it draws from the company pockets to hire and train can become rather costly, a cost they could avoid by convincing you to stay.

Alongside that your employer will understand time will be needed to train the new employee. Training a new employee often takes the time of other members of the team too, adding extra tasks onto their probably busy schedules, something no knowing employer would do unless urgently necessary.

It is crucial to weigh up the real reasons your employer may be bargaining with you to reconsider, as in most cases it may be more beneficial for you in the long term to accept the job offer for your new role and decline the counteroffer. In turn, a short-term increase in salary will not ensure future career progression.

Remember, if your main reason for leaving is an unhealthy work environment, negative work culture, or feeling undervalued by management, it is doubtful a higher salary or role with additional responsibilities will elicit a change in the way you feel, and it is probably time to move on.

Should I accept a counteroffer from my current employer?

Take your time! Before you reach a decision on whether to accept or decline your counteroffer, it is important that you take your time to consider the pros and cons of staying in your current employment. That said, it is equally important to make your prospective employer aware of your decision time. Here are some points to reflect on when making your decision:

  • Money: Was the job search due to your current salary? Is it predominantly the wage packet that is pushing you into a new employer?
  • Recognition: Do you feel your hard work isn’t being recognised in your current role? Do you feel unappreciated or undervalued?
  • Work-life balance: Are you searching for a more rewarding work-life balance? Would accepting the counteroffer equate to that?
  • Trust and loyalty: Will the environment of the workplace change should you choose to stay as your employer is aware you were considering leaving? Could this result in you being excluded from future promotions?

Once evaluated, speaking to your current employer, and discussing the details of their counteroffer is important, as it will help you understand why they want to keep you, and what it means for you going forward.

Ask for time to deliberate, and politely thank them for both the offer and their patience. It’s important to keep those bridges uninflamed. This time can be used for you to compare and contrast the counteroffer with your new job offer, considering company values, company vision, work-life balance offerings, and career development. In conjunction with this, revisit your primary reasons for leaving your current employer. Are those reasons realistically going to be resolved if you were to accept the counteroffer?

Most importantly, trust your gut! You know the aspects you rank most valuable more than anybody else. When weighing everything up, what came out on top for you? What did you regard as crucial? Is that going to be achieved by settling? If there is any doubt left about which offer to accept once you have evaluated all the pros and cons, follow your intuition. What feels right for YOU?

As soon as you reach a decision, let your current employer know straight away. This shows respect and provides you with the opportunity to thank them for the counteroffer, and all the help/ opportunities (if applicable) you were provided with whilst under their employment. You can then confirm directly to them, that you will be declining the offer.

You are then able to let your new employer know as soon as possible of your acceptance!

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