Most of us have had, at some point in our careers, an opportunity to leave one job for another. At this point, there are usually two scenarios. The first is that your current boss wishes you luck in your future endeavors. The second scenario is that you receive a counteroffer, which is an offer that a current employer gives to an employee in hopes of enticing you to stay with the company. There may be many factors to consider when weighing a counteroffer. Primarily, what are the reasons for your leaving your current position? Reasons can span the spectrum, from financial incentives to emotional support and greater career growth. Does your current employer understand your reasons for leaving? And, does the counteroffer address these issues?
When deciding on a counteroffer, do not divulge the details of any new job or business opportunity that you plan to pursue after leaving your current position. Sharing this information with your employer may actually weaken your ability to negotiate a counteroffer. An additional added pressure of the counteroffer is the sensitive time factor—a prospective employer probably needs to hear from you as soon as possible whether you have decided to take the job offer; and, your current employer most likely needs to present a counteroffer as soon as possible in order to keep you at your existing company.
If the counteroffer does address the problems or dissatisfaction you have with your current position, approach your decision to stay carefully. From your boss’ perspective, you have already decided to leave the company and may no longer feel any loyalty to the firm or its employees. When you decide to leave a company, some level of trust has been broken.
If you decide to accept the counteroffer, your supervisors and co-workers may question your loyalty to the firm. To avoid this negative impression, be sure to articulate your reasons for considering the counteroffer and your rationale for staying with the company. It is a good idea to support this rationale by explaining the value you bring to your current employer, particularly if you are receiving a higher salary with the counteroffer. Describe to your supervisor both your short- and long-term goals, and how you plan on achieving them. This is especially important if you are staying for reasons other than financial incentives, such as greater responsibility, more challenging projects, or additional support from your manager.
Once you’ve made your decision, it’s important to act with respect and professionalism to all parties involved. If you accept the counteroffer from your existing firm, be honest with a prospective employer about your reasons for staying. Don´t damage a new relationship and make the other company feel as if it was used as a negotiating tool. Your reputation can be damaged if this situation is not handled delicately.