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A counter offer or ‘buyback’ situation is when an organisation attempts to persuade an employee who has handed in their notice to stay with the organisation. This persuasion can take several forms, the most obvious being a pay rise. Nearly three quarters of counter offers fail within 12 months, that is the employee still ends up leaving the organisation.
Why is this, and if you find yourself in the situation, how do you avoid the pitfalls and protect your position?
Before even putting a CV together you should have ideally explored what can be altered in your current job, to alleviate whatever your dissatisfaction is, and tried to communicate this to your line manager. Money is rarely the sole motivation for a lawyer seeking to move jobs. Issues such as limited career progression opportunities, personality clashes, change in family circumstances, breadth of the role: these are more common reasons behind someone’s desire to find ‘pastures new’. Make sure you discretely explore what can be done within your current organisation, before you go through the effort and stress of a job search.
When you get the offer for your new role, amongst the celebrations, prepare yourself for your resignation and the almost inevitable counter offer. Your current employer would be crazy not to ask you to stay – They will have to go to all the trouble and cost of hiring someone, integrating them into the business, and taking the risk that the new person isn’t as good as the current one who has just resigned (i.e. you!). Though you may not have felt valued by your company recently, on handing in your notice you certainly will do. But though an extra 10% of your salary is always welcome (and may be more than the job offer you have just received) what else has really changed?
Take time to revisit the reasons you wanted to move in the first place.
• Have the underlying issues been solved?
• How have career progression opportunities been created?
• Do you believe that your work/life balance will genuinely improve?
• Do you believe these promises will be acted upon?
• In a small recruitment market how might this affect you or your reputation longer term?
• A major consideration is why did your organisation let it get to the state of you handing in your notice before something was done, and can they be trusted to follow through promises that are made in the panic of trying to retain you?
Lastly, will that whopping pay rise you just got counter offered with be their excuse for not giving you a pay rise next year? In which case you find yourself back on the job market thinking to yourself “so that’s why nearly three quarters of counteroffers fail within 12 months….”