Google “shortage of information security professionals” and you’ll have enough reading material to last you quite a while. With talent scarce and the competition for good talent fierce, counteroffers are a common feature of the human capital landscape. When faced with the prospect of losing a valuable employee, organizations often find some loose change between the seat cushions to sweeten the pot and entice that person to stick around.
To accept or not to accept – that is the question.
Before we address that, let’s back up a bit. You’ve already accepted a job offer from a new company and you’ve sat down with your boss to give notice. More than likely that news was met with surprise and you’ll hear things like “Gee, Bob, I had no idea you were unhappy here” or “Mary, you’ve been such a valued member of the team, I can’t bear the thought of losing you.”
It’s very easy at this point to start reminiscing about all the good qualities of your job, your boss, and the company, but remember this – there are reasons that you proactively conducted a job search or at the very least were open to hearing about other opportunities. In either case, money is typically NOT the main one. Maybe there’s limited potential for advancement or you just need a new set of challenges. Perhaps it’s the culture and you dread Monday mornings.
Whatever the reason, the primary tool the company has to try to keep you is compensation, and cash can be very compelling, especially when you’re looking at a bump on top of a bump, which is likely the case in a counteroffer situation. Here are some things you should consider while you are fantasizing about the lifestyle that new salary will afford.
Change is Coming ~ Numerous studies have shown that more than 50% of people leave their company within a year of accepting a counteroffer. Extra money in your paycheck is great, but cash doesn’t fix the issues that had you looking for a new opportunity in the first place. Reneging on a new job you are fired up about today could mean starting a brand new job search from scratch tomorrow.
Interoffice Politics ~ Accepting a counteroffer has a ripple effect on an organization. The word gets out that you’ve been successfully countered and suddenly everyone else on the team feels underpaid. As many as 80% of people report that this causes relationships with their colleagues to deteriorate.
Trust is Breached ~ You had one foot out the door and now your boss is nervous that every time you take a day off you’re out interviewing. Once broken, it’s hard to win that trust back. Best case, the company is mentally preparing for life without you. Worst case, they counteroffered you to maintain continuity while they search for a replacement.
A New Adventure ~ You’ve been there, done that. The boss isn’t going anywhere and neither is the bosses’ boss. Your new job is a chance to take on new challenges, expand your knowledge and skills, and accept increased responsibilities. That adds up to you being more fulfilled and engaged in your career, and in the end that leads to a higher salary!
It’s clear that we feel the risks of accepting counteroffers far outweigh the short-term benefits, but every situation is unique. If you’ve secured the new job through a recruiter, talk it through with them. A good recruiter wants what’s best for both the candidate and the client and will help you navigate the various issues at play to reach the decision that’s right for you and your career. By: Veronica Mollica, Indigo Partners, Inc. Fairfield, CT.