A DILEMMA: Having taken a decision to leave your company for greener pastures, and then receive a counter-offer, puts you in a dilemma. The stakes are very high and whatever decision you arrive at has its own implications. Your current employer is in an advantageous position, because you are still in their employment. They are basically motivating you to consider withdrawing your acceptance of the offer from your prospective employer. In a subtle way they are rejecting your resignation. They are dangling a carrot to you.
MESSAGES: This counter offer is sending various career management messages to the three parties.
• TO CURRENT EMPLOYER: They have overlooked and underestimated your importance until other industry partners identified it first and tried to snatch you away from them. This is often happening to staff that the company has developed internally.
• TO PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYER: Well done, you were spot on in the search, and the current employer is now a spoiler and does not want to let go of this hot talent you have just discovered. They never saw you coming. They have been ignorant of your capabilities and career growth.
• TO YOU, THE EMPLOYEE: You have value to add to either your current or prospective employer. You are a hot talent, and wanted by both companies. There must be something about you that makes you a unique talent. The question you must answer is: do you know what is your unique value proposition that makes the two companies fight over you? If you do not know your value proposition, you are going to undersell yourself or take a wrong career decision.
DECISIVENESS: this is the time for you to be decisive about your career direction post this dilemma. If you take emotional decisions, you are likely to be hurt. You have to stay at your rational mind in taking career decisions at all times. This is the moment at which you need to reach out to your career coach and mentor. If you do not have a career coach and/or mentor, you better find one. You cannot be alone in the management of your career.
CRITICAL POINT: The counter offer is not a counter offer if it is not an official commitment to you in writing, from appropriate decision maker at your current employer. It should be more than money but include other employment benefits that will make you to want to reconsider. Do not put yourself under unnecessary pressure, even though your current employer would prefer that you move swiftly to abandon your decision to join your prospective employer.
LONG HAUL: Once you have decided to change your mind and accept the counter offer, this becomes a second time around at your current employer. You are re-contracting with your current employer and it cannot be business as usual. Your priority must be about preserving and/or re-positioning your personal brand:
• You are going to stay, and it will have to be a long-haul to avoid being labelled as someone who does not know what to do with self.
• If you, next time, decide to accept another offer from outside, you cannot allow another counter offer situation to happen. That would be damaging to your personal brand.
ORIGINAL REASON: It is important that you keep your original reason for resigning in mind. In most cases the situation that made you consider leaving would have not changed.
PUSH FACTORS: if you took a decision to leave your current employer as a result of push factors, you most certainly know what you wanted to move away from and those factors are not likely to change just because you have decided to stay.
PULL FACTORS: on the other hand if you have been attracted by pull factors, you may not be absolutely sure that indeed the grass is green on the other side. This can be a gamble, unless you have made intensive research and you have valid facts that support your decision.
CAREER MANAGEMENT PLAN: if you find yourself confused by the offer and counter offer dynamics, refer to your career management plan. If you do not have one, then you are in big trouble, because you have actually put your career management on auto pilot. You are gambling with your career. The advice is to urgently put together your career management plan.
LIFE PURPOSE: If you do not have a career management plan, you should at least have clear purpose in life. This is what you were born to become. Not everybody is able to discover and reconnect with their life purpose. Some spend their whole life and die without having discovered what their life purpose was. So, without knowing what your life purpose is, it is impossible to draft good career management plan. If you do not know what your life purpose is, you are as good as being in an intensive care unit. You should find yourself a life coach to partner with you in your life project until you have discovered your life purpose.
RIGHT REASONS: You must always change companies for the right reasons. Keep your relationship with your previous employers healthy. Do not focus too much on the material benefits of career move. Your happiness and life purpose are the main determining factors in the management of your career. Once you have announced your decision to leave, and this is based on solid reasons, please do not hesitate, leave. And avoid being the run away, come back talent. That is not good for your personal brand.
I am an Executive & Life Coach, and will be able to assist you with Coaching, Mentoring, advice on how to formulate your Career Management Plan, and in discovering your Life Purpose. If you are based in South Africa, especially in Gauteng Province, join us at our monthly COMETSA PMS The LEKGOTLA Way Networks & Forums. We are offering the opportunity for the participants to dialogue with one other at the round tables over breakfast, late afternoon sessions or dinner, in small groups. The facilitator introduces the topic, a few insights and trends. Each round table appoints its chairperson who oversees the proceedings, the scribe who captures the deliberations, and the reporter who shortly reports back to the plenary. The facilitator then opens the floor for Q&A and open discussions. The tables then reconvene and formulate what they view as the resolutions for the plenary to consider posting on social media platforms for further discussions with our global audience. In this way we tap onto the global knowledge creation community and receive global feedback.