Should I stay or should I go?

The topic of counter offers is an interesting one. I am sure you have seen articles and thoughts about the subject and they are usually one person’s perspective on the topic. For a somewhat different approach, we’ve reached out to people in our network to gain their thoughts and perspective on the topic.



We asked:

You have just received an offer to join a new firm. You are giving notice to leave your current position and your employer makes a “counter offer” to keep you from leaving. You start to think about whether or not to take that “counter offer.”

Why would taking a counter offer can cost you more in the long run?

Read their responses below:

“My experience in being on the other side of the counter is that they only delay the inevitable.  Whatever, led that individual to go as far down the path as getting an offer at another firm (in most cases) will not have fundamentally changed. They will just be paid more to tolerate whatever it is that they didn’t like before. So now if they turn down the other offer they’ll be back in the market again in 6-12 months or less and most likely unable to go back to that original firm that recruited them.”

                                                                      Monty Hamilton, CEO, Rural Sourcing

” I think the reason few people accept counter-offers is simple, you have exhausted all avenues of resolution with no resolve.   If you are underpaid given the market, then either your employer isn’t in tune with the market or does not feel you are of value.  You shouldn’t have to threaten to leave before someone is willing to do something.  If you accept the counter, what is going to change, all of the same conditions still exist and it could be to your detriment as you could get pegged as a problem person.  Further I think the same thing could be said for any reason you would want to leave, career progression, problem co-worker, etc.  If you have a good people manager and a good HR department then your issues would have been addressed and you wouldn’t be looking for a new job.  And if your HR department and people manager can’t work together (or around each other if one of them is the problem) to remove appropriate obstacles then you don’t want to work there anyway.”

Peter Magladry ,Client Relationship Director at Willis Towers Watson

“Don’t take the “counter” of equal pay unless it comes with a fast-track commitment to greater responsibility.”

Reed Keller, Former PWC Consulting/Vice Chair.

“It has always been my perspective that if the person you are trying to keep is absolutely critical to your operation, and he or she comes to you to say they are taking a competitive offer then shame on you for not recognizing their value up to that point. You may be able to keep them  for some period of time but you have lost a piece of their heart and passion to work for you. 

From the employee perspective, unless the employer makes the counter offer so good and you were not sure about the other company, then by all means consider the new offer from your current employer.

But prepare yourself to be able to walk out that door in the future because your current employer obviously doesn’t really value you on a day to day basis. If they really valued your contribution to the team, they never would have put you in the position of looking to the outside. I have only left an employer when the passion I needed to succeed at my job has been lost. Rarely has a counter offer ever brought the passion back to keep me for the long term.”

Tom Mezera, Mezera Consulting LLC

This is the first installment of this series. We hope you find these perspectives interesting. If you would like to share your thoughts on this for future blogs, please let me know.

Larry Janis, Managing Partner, ISSG,

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