Counter-Offers and Resignation Tips
Leaving your job can be a challenge. Leaving the friends and environment that you know and are comfortable with for the unknown can cause doubt, this is natural. The time after your resignation can become more challenging if your current employer asks you to stay and offers a counter offer. Counter offers have become very common in the current job market; you should be prepared to handle this with class. Review the reasons that you decided to pursue a new opportunity and commit to your decision when you are dealing with counter offers.
Be confident in your decision; do not show doubt. Why were you leaving to begin with? Remember, money does not equal happiness; what were the other factors that attracted you to a new opportunity? People do not change quickly, and neither do companies, so do not expect a major change in your current environment.
It is okay to feel flattered that the organization finds you important to their success, but how are they assisting you in your success? How do you feel about working for a company that will only pay you what you are worth, promote you, or hear you if you threaten to leave?
Compare your current position and the new opportunity; if both were new to you, which offers the most potential? It is likely that the new opportunity provides more room for growth, or you would not have been looking to begin with.
Assess the Company’s Intentions
It is a well known fact that most employees who accept counter offers are let go or quit within one year. Why is your organization taking that risk? Are they looking for a short term solution to mitigate stress within your department while they look for your replacement?
High turnover rates reflect poorly on the organization, is this simply an attempt to avoid turnover, or a true investment in your future? Will the money or promotion from the counter offer affect your chances at a raise, bonus, or promotion in the future?
If you have threatened to leave, what do they now think of your loyalty? How will this affect your long term growth with this organization, even if they want to keep you?
Do not give your company any reason to expect you will consider a counter offer. Expect to hear, “What can we do to make things better?” If possible, turn the focus to what they can do to make the transition smoother.
If you do consider a counter offer, get it in writing and request a 24+ month contract which will eliminate the possibility of being let go. Most companies are not willing to commit to this, but why would you stay if they do not?
Congratulations! You have made the decision to take a new opportunity and advance your career, now it is time to share your news. A job resignation can be challenging; although it is “just business,” there are strong emotional ties to consider, and for this reason it is best to keep it simple and straightforward.
A resignation should ideally be delivered in person to your manager, paired with a letter that can be shared with key leadership and human resources.
- Request to meet in person. If details are requested, indicate the meeting is of a personal nature that will need to be discussed confidentially.
- Prepare a resignation letter to be shared at this meeting, and share it with HR afterwards.
- Pair your letter with a direct statement such as, “I have committed to join a new organization, starting in two weeks. Please review this. I hope we can discuss how we can work together to make the transition seamless.” Be definitive, you have made your decision, you are not “thinking about” leaving, you ARE leaving.
- Stick to your agenda; if asked, indicate that due to the confidential nature, you would be happy to share details after you begin the position.
- Be prepared to resist a counter offer. There are reasons you were looking for a new opportunity, those have not changed. Read more about counter offers above.
- Share the news with three people around the office BEFORE you speak with your manager. Stick to the basics, share that you will be leaving and on what date, do not share details at this time. This will deter a counter offer and assist in a smooth transition.
- Do not apologize for leaving, this is a great opportunity for you; you have put in your time to your company and given your all. It is not your fault that your company could not give you the growth and challenges needed.
- Do not vent. This is not the time to share feedback or complain, there is no reason to focus on any negative aspects that led to your departure, and it is not an exit interview.
- Do not share details of your transition at this time; it is best to wait until emotions cool.
- Do not lay out any expectation that you would consider a counter offer; this will only muddy the waters and cause a more stressful transition.
- Do not be surprised if you get walked out. Although unusual, some companies do not retain employees for the two week notice period; this is not a personal attack on you.
- Do not be afraid to share your recruiter’s contact information, he/she can assist in finding your replacement, or in some cases, your manager may be looking for a new opportunity as well!
Example Resignation Letter:
Please accept this letter as my official notice of resignation. I appreciate the work we have accomplished together, but have made a commitment to another organization and will begin working with them in two weeks.
It is my intention to work diligently with you to complete or transition as much as possible in the remaining time I am here in order to make my departure as smooth as possible. If you have suggestions on how we can best accomplish that goal, I hope that you will share them with me. I would like to leave on the most positive note possible.