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Job Doc

Counter-offers often aren’t game changers

Q. What is your opinion of counter offers? After I gave my notice, my employer beat the offer from my new employer by $5,000 and three additional vacation days. I left anyway and am very happy in my new position. My family thinks it was a mistake, and I should have stayed. I don’t think so because I know I wouldn’t see another raise for years. What do you think?

A. Counter offers are an employer’s last ditch effort to get employees to change their minds about leaving. Most people who get to the point of giving notice are ready to leave for many reasons — and not just because of compensation.

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As people evaluate their job satisfaction, they take many points into account. In the most basic way, people ask themselves if they are happy. They consider the challenge in the job, the amount of development the company provides, and the relationship they have with their managers. Pay, benefits, advancement, and recognition also play important parts. When these points no longer provide positive reactions, the disengagement begins.

Changing jobs has many implications, and conducting a job search is time consuming and filled with rejection. People also recognize the challenges in starting a new job and learning a new role.

Many human resources professionals will tell you counter offers do not work out for the long term. Employers often wonder if they are put into the position to make a counter offer just so the employee can maximize their compensation.

When employees have tipped their hand about their desire to leave, employers may become convinced the employee stayed for the money alone and will leave at the next chance they get. If you went to a job you wanted and didn’t just run from a job you disliked, don’t let anyone second guess your decision.

Elaine Varelas is managing partner at Keystone Partners, a career management firm in Boston and serves on the board of Career Partners International.
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