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To quit or not to quit: Is a counter offer the answer?

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To quit or not to quit: Is a counter offer the answer?

To quit or not to quit...

It isn't something to be taken lightly, nor is it a decision to be made on a whim – quitting your job is a big deal and no employee will ever make that choice without very good reasons. If this is you and you have decided the time has come to tender your resignation – you may be surprised by the response.


Employers are aware that finding a new employee, hiring them and training them to your level is time consuming and expensive. If you have been a good worker, they will want to keep you on and may offer you plenty of promises to make that happen. It is a tempting proposition – after all, better the devil you know. Right?


Well not always. People leave jobs for all kinds of reasons and not all of them may be addressed by your current employer, regardless of what they may think. According to an EY global survey carried out this year, the three main reasons why people decide to leave employment is minimal wage growth, a lack of advancement and too much overtime. Following close behind these reasons are poor teamwork encouragement and a lack of flexibility or the fear that asking for flexibility will be frowned upon.


Looking at each of these aspects in turn we can question if your reasons for leaving are justified and whether your current employer is able to make the grade – enough to satisfy your needs and encourage you to stay put.


Improved pay


This is entirely dependent on how long you have been in your current role. To be overlooked for a pay rise without justification (such as poor company performance) for several years in a row says a lot about the company you are working for and their attitude to their staff. If your counter offer promises a pay rise then you need to wonder why it is happening now and where the money has come from. Will you need to push even harder next year to get more money? Do you really want to work for a company that fails to reward hard work?


Lack of advancement


You've worked hard, you completed work well, you get on with your colleagues and yet somehow, you are never on the list of people who are promoted. Certainly the best answer to this problem is to start in a more advanced role in another company. Rising up the corporate ladder often works this way.


Your employer may promise you that the right role is just over the horizon and to wait a little longer. Is this really the case? Take a look at the structure in your workplace. Is it expanding? Are people leaving or retiring? Do people at your level rise up quickly or tend to stay put? Does it seem to you that promotion is likely? Chances are that if you have already resigned the answer is no.




You may be asked to complete overtime or the demands of your role may lead you to working longer hours (indeed in a lot of larger firms long hours can be part of the culture), but generally, you will be expected to work reasonable hours in most firms, although the definition of reasonable can vary from practice to practice and individual to individual. You would be within your rights to object to an expectation of unreasonable hours, especially if this was not made clear when you started. A culture of exceptionally long hours can be detrimental and is a valid reason to leave in many cases.


Any promise from an employer to change this has to be treated with scepticism. There are people in the office who accept it and you will be compared to them. You will be asked or expected to work longer now and then and possibly that could become the norm once again. Your employer was used to getting more from you than you were able to give – why will they change if it suits them?


Lack of teamwork


This comes under the banner of simply not getting on or working well with your colleagues. This happens sometimes and may not be the fault of your employer, but that doesn't mean you should put up with it. Chances are you have already brought up any personality clashes and nothing has been done. Is this likely to change even if promises are made? The people you don't gel with will still be there even if you are moved to a different department. A fundamental shift in personality may be needed and that almost never happens.


No flexibility


Some companies have failed to embrace change with regards to flexible working – some can't due to the nature of their business. If yours is the former, you may be able to renegotiate a better and more flexible working pattern that suits you and the business. For companies where certain working practices are non-negotiable, you really have little choice than to move on.


Promises of enhanced flexibility may be somewhat hollow though. Any counter offer must be carefully examined to ensure it is watertight. If you want every Friday working from home, make sure it is explicit in your new contract and cannot be overridden by the excuse of “business need”. still have to work there


Even if every one of your work issues have been addressed and your counter offer is looking like it will work for everyone, bear in mind one small fact. You have clearly pointed out to your boss, management and possibly other employees that you were willing to leave and that now you have changed your mind. That may mark you out as fickle or even as someone who cries “wolf” in the hope of getting what you want. That isn't a nice position to be in.


Do all you can to resolve issues before resigning.  Don't force the hand of your employer unless you are certain. As we have already pointed out, resigning is a big deal. If you feel you have good reasons to move then make the move. The vast majority of people who move onto a new position do not regret it.  


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