I’ll start with the punch line:
Why would your current employer offer you an inducement to stay after you’ve announced your intention to leave? HINT: It’s for THEIR reasons, it’s not for YOURS.
Choosing to leave an employer is a big decision. Once you’ve taken an outside offer and have prepared to give notice, you’ve already carefully evaluated the current situation and the new one and have made a thoughtful decision. Despite the fact that we all work for a paycheck, money is typically not the primary motivating factor in deciding to leave. Here is the question: Why then, would you choose to stay for any reason other than the one that prompted you to leave in the first place? Counteroffers are more common in today’s tight labor market. Does the market change the way we should respond?
What really went through your boss’s head when you gave notice:
“Does this reflect on me?”
“Boy, this is bad timing!”
“Maybe I can get him/her to stay at least until I find someone to fill the role!”
“How am I going to get this work done and look for a replacement?”
After 22 years in the recruiting industry, I’ve witnessed that more than 90% of candidates who’ve accepted counteroffers have regretted it. Either they leave anyway or are terminated within six months to a year. Your reasons for choosing to leave in the first place almost always still exist. If your company had to be forced to pay you more or offer you a suddenly bright new future based on a threat to leave, is this the relationship you value in the first place? Can they get past the lack of loyalty they now perceive?
When presented with an outside offer, consider the entire picture. Make sure that you only accept an offer that places you in a better situation for the long term. Let your employer know that you will be leaving, protect the relationship (avoid burning bridges), then stick to the thoughtful decision you’ve made.
Written by: Julie Godshall Brown