How to handle a counter-offer

You’ve been offered your dream travel role, but your current employer is desperate to retain you and tries to tempt you to stay. How should you handle their counter-offer?

Very few people like change so a better offer from your existing company may seem like the easiest option, unless that counter-offer doesn’t consider the reasons you’re leaving in the first place.

While a counter-offer may earn you a higher salary and better benefits, it may not necessarily fix other issues like company culture, your relationship with your boss, conflicts with colleagues, poor communication, etc.  Remember to ask yourself if by accepting the counter-offer, it isn’t simply a short-term cure for a long-term problem.

In fact, there is a high percentage of people who will start searching for another job between six to 12 months after they’ve accepted the counter-offer and regret their decision to stay because the underlying cause of wanting to leave has not been resolved.

The first steps to handling a counter-offer is to assess why you wanted to leave in the first place. Ask yourself why your current employer didn’t offer you a better package before you decided to leave. Of course, from their perspective it is almost always less cumbersome improving your package than trying to find an appropriate replacement, but why wasn’t this extended to you before your resignation?

When you receive a counter-offer, it is important that you be honest with both companies. Write a list of pros and cons and speak to people you trust for advice.

If you decide to refuse the counter-offer, do so with grace and poise. Advise your existing employer how difficult the decision was. Do not burn your bridges and rant about what’s wrong with the company and why you’re leaving. You may need to call on your current company and boss for a reference in future.

Highly unethical would be for you to use the recruitment process and offer of a new travel job to solicit a counter-offer from your existing employer. It is a waste of people’s time and money and is high risk. You may not even get a counter-offer and be forced to leave when you didn’t necessarily want to in the first place.

If you decide to stay, you may be regarded with suspicion in future and will need to work hard to regain your existing employer’s trust.  You may be considered disloyal and lose out on opportunities that would have been made available to you had you not been considering another position.

Resigning from a job is never easy, but if you’ve decided it’s time it’s almost always better to follow through with it.

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