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Counter Offers

Should you accept a counter offer?

Counter offers can be very generous and flattering to any employee, however, taking an employer up on their offer can be a regretful decision.

From a personal perspective, think about why you decided to leave in the first place. The majority of employees leave work due to a personality rift, a lack of advancement opportunity, or unfulfilling work. A generous financial offer is unlikely to change any of these problems and in the long-term could ruin your motivation levels.

From a company viewpoint, your employer may use a counter-offer as a temporary tactic and immediately start looking for your replacement. An employer's comments in The Fordyce Letter, a leading national publication for the employment industry, illustrates the loss of trust: "If it will cost me $20,000 or $30,000 to replace a good employee and only $10,000 to make the person happy enough to stay, I'll make that counteroffer. However, I'll keep my eyes open for a replacement and that person is no longer a part of my inner circle."

Consider this...

According to national surveys, 50-80 per cent of employees who have accepted counter-offers voluntarily leave their employer within six months of accepting because of un-kept promises. The majority of employees who have accepted counter offers have involuntarily left within twelve months.

Declining a counter-offer

To eliminate any misunderstandings, always submit your resignation in writing. Your letter should be brief and should contain an unambiguous statement of resignation, an expression of thanks for the professional association you have enjoyed, a final date of employment, and a cooperative statement expressing your willingness to help during the transition period prior to your last day of work.

You should be prepared for all kinds of reactions during your resignation meeting; congratulatory handshakes, guilt trips, even anger. Regardless of this, you should remain calm and professional and answer any hostile accusations with a polite, but firm reply. Remember that this is the employer that is likely to be giving future references and they may be strongly influenced by your reaction during your resignation meeting.

Finally, do not underestimate the importance of your performance during your last two weeks. It is a serious mistake to become "mentally unemployed" while working out your notice. Give it your very best effort right up until the last minute you're there.