You’ve started the first step of career spring cleaning by deciding that it is time to leave your current job. After submitting your two week notice, you are now being met with a counter-offer: more than half of employees that resign will have a counter-offer conversation with their current boss. It is usually seen as a last-ditch effort from the employer to keep an employee on board, so they won’t have to deal with the disruption caused by them leaving.
Offering more money is the most common tactic employers use when trying to get an employee to stay put. While compensation may be a partial factor in your decision to resign, it most likely isn’t going to solve the underlying issues as to why you want to move on. Chances are, there are a plethora of other reasons that are pushing you towards the door.
It can be easy to look at guides like this and believe that your situation is different, but the same practices that have trapped others will show up for you too. Every day, our recruiters see candidates navigating the horrors that come after a two-week notice. Superiors will do almost anything to get an employee to stay long enough for the company to replace them at their leisure.
Counter offers are not always straight-up offers either. They come in the form of sudden efforts from the superiors to create a better culture, guilt-tripping employees about how much everyone will miss them or how leaving will be like abandoning them, or even love-bombing, which will make employees question if they might have jumped the gun in leaving. Being aware of these hazards ahead of time might be the difference between being another victim and moving forward with a great opportunity.
Navigating job offers and counter-offers can be difficult, but it does not have to be. Let’s take off the rose colored glasses together and look at why and how we suggest turning down counter-offers when looking for a better job.
Better Compensation in a Counter-Offer Won’t Fix the Underlying Problems
If compensation is the main issue behind your resignation, it’s important to consider why your boss didn’t offer you a higher salary (or why you didn’t ask for one) before you decided to leave. It’s likely that the money is only being offered now because your employer doesn’t want to deal with hiring and training a new team member, and not because they suddenly see you as a more valuable asset.
Accepting a counter-offer here leaves you vulnerable on two fronts. One, you just let the company know that they do not have to change the way they treat you and all problems can be solved with money. It is likely that the same people causing problems before will hold a counter-offer raise over your head to encourage compliance.
Two, the fact that you wanted to move on puts you on the burner if they happen to come across another qualified healthcare professional who could potentially replace you. Even if they seem to welcome you back with open arms, it is very likely that you will be deemed disloyal. Management will likely be looking for a replacement who they feel would put company loyalty over the promise of better pay. Accepting more money when you’ve already started packing your bags will leave a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.
Your Quality of Life May Suffer if You Accept a Counter-Offer
Remember why you made the decision to resign in the first place. Maybe you have reached your full potential at this job and are eager for new opportunities that your current position hasn’t presented. Perhaps you want more benefits, a nicer facility, more upward mobility, more something – and that something is not being offered at your current job.
All of these are okay to want, but there is a temptation to take the easiest route and stay with the devil you know. Doing so may feel better than the fear of job hunting, at first, but a recent survey found that around 50% of employees that end up accepting a counter-offer are looking for a new job within just two months because they are still unsatisfied with the job itself.
Realistically, your threat of resignation is unlikely to completely rewire the company culture to make you stay. Don’t let your quality of life suffer to make someone else’s life easier. You need to recognize the elements of a workplace that are most important to you, and if they aren’t being offered at your current position, it’s time to find them elsewhere.
You May Be Alienated at Your Job
Going back on your decision to leave your current position may change the way your colleagues see you. After all, people now know that you are, or at least were, actively looking for a new job. Your colleagues may treat you differently if they don’t see you as ‘part of the team’ anymore.
Just as we said above with your superiors quietly trying to replace you, your coworkers will likely do the same. Even if your reasons for leaving were issues that everyone had discussed also being upset with, you attempting to leave might make others feel like you were abandoning them. While not everyone will take it so personally, even a few people doing so can make the workplace feel that much more toxic. Additionally, there will be a stigma against you vocalizing your issues to coworkers because you chose to stay, despite knowing the issues that were happening.
Be Careful Not to Burn Bridges During a Counter-Offer Discussion
No matter how your counter-offer conversation goes with your boss, you want to make sure to leave on a positive note and not burn any professional bridges. Try to give at least 2 weeks notice and, when presented with the counter-offer, decline politely and thank them for the time you worked together.
Even though you have made the decision to move on to a new position, ensuring that you can get a good reference from your employer is critical. The world of healthcare is surprisingly small, and a bad reference can sometimes hurt your chances at landing a new role.
No matter what your reason for leaving, remember this: if your employer really agreed with their counter-offer, it would have already been suggested. Feel confident in the choices you are making to move forward and get ready for the next step in your career without guilt or fear. If you need help making that next step, check out our job board or send us an updated resume and we will be sure to find you an opportunity worth moving on to.