The Downsides of Accepting a Counteroffer

When you’ve been offered a position outside of your current job, you’re likely to be more than ready to walk into your manager’s office and deliver the not-so-bad news that you’re planning on leaving as soon as possible. If your employer comes back with a counteroffer to entice you to stay, there are usually more reasons to turn down the counteroffer, even if it seems attractive, than there are to accept it.

Nothing is Likely to Change

The underlying reasons for why you want to change companies are not likely to change. If you don’t like the culture of the organization, for example, it doesn’t make sense to stay there just because you got a raise. The underlying reasons for your wanting to change jobs are still going to bug you.

Now, there may be the rare situation where your boss says that they didn’t know you were unhappy, transfer you to a new department where your skills are better utilized, give you a new job title, in addition to a raise, and you’re completely happy in the new role.

Carefully consider your reasons for leaving. If it is more than money, think hard about moving to a new job.  

Your Boss Knows You’re about the Money

If you tell your boss you’ve received a new job offer, but you stay because your current boss gives you more money, you’ve sent a message you don’t want to send: you are just looking for more money. When the opportunity arises to earn more elsewhere, you’re gone. That indicates that you are not loyal to the organization and do not care about anything more than money. You may find this understanding reflected in not being promoted or being the first on the list of layoffs.

Relationships Suffer

Your employer may also just offer a counter because you’re threatening to work for a direct competitor. Will you share company secrets? Accepting the counter may just cause you to be resentful and suspicious that they didn’t keep you because they really value you.

Your co-workers also will eventually find out that you have received another offer, and your relationships with them may suffer when they find you stayed because you got a counter from your current organization.

It Could be a Stalling Tactic

While some companies give counteroffers because they realize they are lacking in the area of career advancement and professional development for employees, they may also give a counteroffer because they are just biding time until they can replace you. You may get a short-term raise in salary or increase in benefits only to have it taken out from under you by a layoff or being fired when you or your services are no longer required.

Spend some time thinking carefully about the reasons you want to change companies. Before you accept a counteroffer when you offer your resignation, an analysis of future potential consequences of accepting it should be at the forefront of your mind.