I have a complex life. I have multiple kids, a career, i’m on a few committee’s and boards that require after hours commitments. Oh, and then there is this blog/book/podcast thing that I do on the weekends to hopefully drive some value – entertainment or otherwise – for my readers and maybe even earn a few shekels in the process. That’s why when a reader passes something of interest along for my input it’s appreciated. Today’s post is based upon one such article that was brought to my attention.
It’s a linkedin post about counter offers. Specifically not accepting them. I would first read the post here:
After you have read it, I thought I would weigh in the 12 points from my perspective and experience. The author gets some things right, and some things wrong. Here are my comments on the twelve points. Hopefully it’ll help those that read this think about the counter offer options from a tangential point of view.
Twelve Reasons for Not Accepting a Counteroffer
- You have now made your employer aware that you are unhappy. From this day on your commitment will always be in question.
This is true, but depending on the company you work for, it may be well known that there is no such thing as commitment. If you live in an environment where the company isn’t committed to you, then they can’t, and usually don’t, expect commitment out of you. Netflix’s stated corporate policy – from it’s earliest days – is you are only as valuable as your current contribution and the second they don’t need you, you are gone. I seriously doubt they give a rat’s rear end about their employee’s commitment.
- When promotion time comes around, your employer will remember who is loyal and who isn’t.
This only happens in small petty offices. The reality of this is another area where the decision on who gets the promotion generally is focused on what the immediate need is. Promotions are more often than not right place, right time. If your the only person who has the skill set in the needed niche then you get the promotion. IF on the other hand there are others who didn’t look around, then it’s time.
- When times get tough, your employer will begin the cutbacks with you.
If the only decision point on the cutbacks is loyalty, which does figure into it – a little – then yes, I could see where a short sighted employer will begin cutbacks with the person who was looking to leave. More often cutbacks happen with a spreadsheet and value proposition. The question is how do we cut XYZ cost with still delivering service. If your a project manager in a small IT company, and you are the lowest cost provider of the service even with the raise they gave you when you tried to quit, there is a high probability the other guy is going to get the ax. It’s a business, you are only a cost. How can they get the job done least expensive way possible? The reality of this statement is that if you did get a raise that put you to the point where you were more expensive than the other guy, well then that’s when you are going to get slashed. Correlation does not equal causality.
- When your employer replaces you after six months and ‘lets you go’, it’ll be harder to turn them around than it was for them to turn you around.
Obviously. This is the one the author got spot on. Getting a job is very difficult, unless you are ‘in a club’. I think i’ll write about that more later. This is really the biggest reason to not accept a counter without some assurance via some sort of parachute.
- Accepting a counteroffer is an insult to your intelligence. You didn’t know what was best for you.
Uh, actually this is wrong. Large companies have ‘business unit evaluations’ quarterly, annually, and on other regular periods. They go out and collect data and use that information to readjust. Sometimes they institute a price hike, sometimes a price goes down. Sometimes the unit is shut down, and sometimes it’s beefed up. Just like the business, you are dynamic. Every single day you work is another day of experience that modifies your value to the organization. You are just doing a ‘human resource business evaluation’ on yourself.
- Accepting a counter offer is a blow to your personal pride, knowing you were ‘bought’.
If you look at my previous statement, it’s not a blow at least if your not emotional. If your a dispassionate and logical individual, admittedly a rare personality trait for most, then you realize that the calculus surrounding your employment has changed. Realistically you were bought from the day you started employment. The only difference is now the price has gone up based upon changing market conditions. Sounds a bit like business, doesn’t it?
- Accepting a counteroffer rarely changes the factors that drove you to look for a new job in the first place.
That depends on what the factors were. If the factors were a frustrating organization, then yes, they most likely won’t change. Your completely under a delusion if you think they will. You really do need to move if these factors were the motivating factor. If the factors were simple income.. Then maybe you don’t. The key to remember is that there is dysfunction in most organizations. Rarely is the grass actually greener. Sometimes the problems and frustrations you know are better than the ones you don’t.
- Where is the money for the counter offer coming from? Is it your next pay rise early?
This one is mostly valid. The challenge with this point is that I don’t know many organizations that offer regular pay raises. Mostly employers are trying to keep their their payroll as low as possible. Pay raises generally only come when you jump ship or try too, which is the whole point of this article.
As a squirrel moment, I never knew why employers just don’t use profit sharing as the mechanism for pay increases across the entire organization. Sort of like attaching minimum wage hikes to the CPI. It’s a set once and forget strategy. Base salary is X for each job categories. Beyond X your commissions are based on profit sharing and longevity. X% of profits are set aside each year and go to the profit sharing / employee owners and it’s broken up by the pay period. More profit = raise. Less profit = company is not in a position to get you that raise. I’ve seen attempts that come close to this.
- Statistics show that if you accept a counteroffer, there is a ninety percent chance you will be out of the job within six months.
Well you know what they say about statistics.
- What type of a company do you work for if you have to threaten to resign before they give you what you’re worth?
A normal company in today’s corporate world. One that’s considered to be well managed.
- Why didn’t they pay you that before? It was because they didn’t think you were worth it.
Because the entire point of business is to keep your costs as low as possible, and charge as much as possible. (Congrats, I just gave you an MBA). You like a deal when you find a nice piece of clothing on the clearance rack, the company likes a deal when they find a nice employee that’s available at a good discount.
- Why are they paying it to you now? It’s because it’s easier and cheaper for them to keep you for the time being, while they sort the problem out.
This one is a definite ‘maybe’. If they are diabolical, and there are many diabolical behaviors in the corporate arena then yes it’s a true statement. If they are dispassionate and just managing resources, then they realized that gravy train (your lower salary) is over and it was a good run while it lasted.
I’m not going to comment on the example in this article of what goes through the hiring manager’s mind. I have my own opinions but they are just that, opinions. I think that would be a great survey from some researcher to take on. I can see the title now “Behavior patterns for organizational leaders faced with a potential human resource defection”.
That being said, aside from the alternative viewpoints presented here is that there is that this article underscores one more very important point. As long as employers continually evaluate their business with little regard to keeping employees around for the long term, it is incumbent on you, the professional to continually reevaluate the benefits of your employment with them. To not do this is folly.