Handling counter offers upon resignation

What would you do if your current employer were to offer you a salary raise after you told them that you are resigning from your job because you have received a better offer from another company?

This is a very common occurrence in organizations when your employer ‘suddenly’ realizes that they actually needed to review your salary. This realization however comes a little late though. Some employees, if not most, find it difficult to make a decision especially if this move catches them off guard. There are however some fundamentals that you need to keep in mind should you ever find yourself in such a situation.

First, there is a reason why you chose to look for an new job opportunity. This could be a higher salary, a greater challenge, opportunity to change work environment, poor work culture at your currently job or maybe you are just not okay with how your boss treats you or how the company operates, among other very valid reasons. The decision then to take up or not the counter offer from your current employer should put into account the above factors. The question is, is the salary increment the only thing you were looking for? Sometimes, money alone is not enough to keep an employee on the job. Will things change if I stay back? What will happen to me two, three months down the line? Is my job even safe at this point? What will my working relationship be with my employer going forward if I accept this?

A word of caution though. It is extremely dangerous (and to be bluntly put, dumb!) to resign from your job as a way of ‘threatening’ your employer or blackmailing them into giving you a better salary offer. I know of instances where this move has worked, but it can only work once, or twice if you are very lucky. They might just decide to accept your resignation and leave you out in the cold.

You need to keep in mind that accepting a counter offer under these circumstances may put you in a vulnerable position where the employer may feel that they can ‘buy’ you. Everyone has a price, so they say! This opens the door to manipulation. I’m not sure you are ready for this. There may also be employers who may use this move to ‘tie a noose around your neck’. What this means is that this conversation will keep coming up even where it shouldn’t. You’ll start hearing things like, ‘…see, last time we gave you a salary increment just to keep you here. We expect more from you..’ The amount of pressure this puts on you is unimaginable. In the end, just when you start to get comfortable, they may dispose off you, because they now know the other offer you were considering is off the table.

As an employer, you do not need to receive a resignation notice from your employee for you to reward or recognize their contribution to the business. Performance appraisals are conducted to determine an employee’s level of performance vis a viz the targets and establish areas of improvement. This will give you a clear picture of how well the employee is doing. Salary increment should be tied to value and the contribution the employee is bringing to the business. When you determine the value contribution, reward it without having to be prompted or coerced. Once you create a high performing culture that is rewarded, coupled with a good working environment, your employees will not be catching you off guard with resignations. Continuous employee engagement to establish levels of job satisfaction is also important in helping to determine the ‘health’ of the manpower.

To the employee, if you decide that it’s time to move on, do just that. Keep moving. Your growth may just come from the next phase of your career. When you have reached the point of irreconcilable differences with your employer, the best decision is to separate; money must not be the reason you extend that relationship. It might end in premium tears! Weigh all the pros and cons of your decision very carefully. Should you however choose to accept it, ensure that you go over, thoroughly the details of the counter offer; salary, benefits, any changes in terms of engagement and any other thing that was offered and negotiated. And if you’ve been an avid reader of my articles, you now know that my advise still remains; if it is not written, it did not happen. Ensure they write it down and sign it. You too must sign acceptance. A gentleman’s agreement does not work in this instance.

Merry Christmas my lovely people and Happy New Year. Enjoy your holidays, stay safe, drink responsibly, spend time with your family and loved ones and let’s all meet here in 2023 because there is still a lot to share and learn. Blessings!


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