Why You Should Never Accept a Counteroffer

By Chris Kelley
May 13, 2019

As an employer, it’s difficult to lose good, talented people. In today’s tight labor market, the departure of a key employee can be even more daunting and detrimental to an organization. As an employee, making sound career decisions can be challenging, too. One decision you should commit to is to never accept a counteroffer from a current employer.

A counteroffer is created to convince you to stay with your current employer. It is typically full of promises and commitments that will include one or maybe all of the following: increased compensation, promotion, improved working conditions, increased professional responsibilities, etc. While it certainly can be flattering to be wanted, never accept the terms of a counteroffer.

Why? Consider these factors:

  • Your boss is typically more concerned about his/her own reputation if you were to leave than your well being. No manager likes to lose staff and it’s more common that key departures will be looked upon negatively by executive management. That’s a risk your boss may not want to take.
  • Promises made are hardly ever kept.
  • If there are cultural issues that are driving you to leave the company, it’s very difficult to change those issues quickly. Do you really have the patience to wait it out? Do you really believe those changes will occur?
  • You will always have a target on your back. If the organization changes due to a merger, acquisition, downsizing, you will likely be one of the first people to go. Your loyalty to the company has been tarnished.
  • You have already made a commitment to your future employer. If you break that, your reputation will be damaged and very difficult to repair.

Yes, it can be very stressful to confront your boss and give your notice. And yes, it might be easier to stay with your current employer in the unlikely event that the promises they are making actually take effect. But if the concerns above don’t resonate with you, don’t forget the real reasons that are so attractive to you that are motivating you to move on.

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