On Counter Offers

Many people consider counter offers when they are looking for a new position or after they already accepted one. There are risks inherent in accepting a counter offer that people need to be aware of before they do so. The obvious risk is that you made your unhappiness with your current employer known to all parties. Even if you accept the counter offer, your employer now knows where you stand relative to the company, may look to appease you until they find a replacement for you, and may even question your future loyalty to the company. So, how does one negotiate a counter offer then?

There are several things that you need to ask yourself before you decide to pursue a counter offer.

  1. Why are you looking for a new position?

    If you are unhappy at your current company, there are reasons why you feel a certain way. It pays to really think about the things that are making you unhappy and whether a counter offer will change that at all. Most of the time, when you accept a counter offer, it is just a time stalling tactic.  Please be aware that least 50% of people who accept counter offers go on to leave their company within 12- 24 months after accepting one.

  2. What is your current value to the company?

    You must be able to make a case for yourself as to why you deserve a raise in concrete terms. It is not enough to ask for a raise without mentioning what you’ve brought to the table so far in your current position and what you could further bring to the table in the future. Do your performance evaluations reflect your worth to the company? Are you certain that you are considered an asset to the company?  These are questions that one needs to consider.  It also pays to research what the salary range is for your position within your industry. If you are going to ask for a raise and/or title change, you really need to know what other people are being paid so that what you are asking for doesn’t seem extraordinary when compared to others with similar backgrounds and experience.

  3.  What about an increase in “perks” only?

    A counter offer doesn’t always have to be related to a salary increase. You may want to consider non-salary benefits like tuition reimbursement, work from home days, a sign-on bonus, relocation costs, additional vacation days, etc. Again, know why you want to leave a position. If you are okay with the salary, but want additional non-salary benefits, then you may want to ask for an increase in those only.

Counter offers are risky, but they do allow for some room to negotiate. However, one needs to really question why they would want to leave a company in the first place. People who are happy in their positions don’t just get up and leave without a reason. This is worth remembering.


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