candidate and interviewer shaking hands

Resignations and Counter Offers

Written on July 27, 2020 by Jason Horwood

Congratulations! You have listened to the advice from the Agile Recruit team, aced your interview and landed your dream data specialist role. You are about to hand in your resignation, but have you thought carefully about it?

Why do you want to resign?

Before you hand in your resignation letter, you need to be absolutely clear about why you want to leave your current role. If there are things you are unhappy with that could be fixed, then make sure you explore these fixes with whoever you need to speak to before you resign.

Using your resignation as a bargaining tool can be tempting but it is rarely a good idea. Figures show that between 70 and 80% of people who resign and then accept a counteroffer tend to leave (or are let go) within 12 months anyway.  This seems to be down to the fact that the trust has now gone on both sides, irrespective of the new terms agreed.

Handing in your resignation

Actually handing in your resignation is never an easy task, especially when you have a strong relationship with your boss or the rest of your colleagues. You should also be prepared for the fact that your employer will want to keep you because:

  • They do not want to deal with the business disruption caused by you leaving
  • They do not want other employees to think they may have better opportunities elsewhere as well
  • It can cost over £30k to replace staff members, and so it may be more cost-effective for them to keep you on

How may your employee attempt to keep you?

This is where counteroffers come into play. Your employer may attempt to keep you by:

  • Refusing to accept your resignation — this happens more often than you might think which is surprising as employers are prevented from refusing to accept your resignation under normal contract of employment in the UK
  • Inviting you to a meeting with the directors or CEO — usually an attempt to make you feel important and valued as well as flatter you out of leaving
  • Coming back to you with a revised financial offer — either an immediate rise or a time-scaled rise linked to your performance
  • Discussing an increase in your responsibilities or promoting you
  • Appealing to your loyalty by talking about the impact your resignation will have on the wider team (also known as emotional blackmail)
  • Asking you not to speak to anyone else — internally or externally — about your resignation as a way of stalling for time.

How to deal with counter offer tactics

If your employer hits you with one or more of these counteroffer tactics, you need to be totally honest with yourself about why you chose to look for another role in the first place. If you had concerns, which you raised with your employer already, you may want to think about why you went as far as resigning in order to be offered a different salary or position. Be realistic. If you are offered a substantial promotion or pay rise to stay that you know was not in the budget or the plans, why was it not offered to you before?

  • What are your options? If you choose to stay at your current company it means you have to turn down your other role, which could prevent you from working for that company in the future.
  • Will staying in your current role make you happy? Think about it objectively and long term.
  • What will your employer think? They may question your loyalty even if you do decide to stay.
  • Does your employer really want you to stay? They may not really want you to stay long term, they may just want you to stay long enough for them to find a replacement.
  • Will you be motivated enough to deliver? Usually accepting a counteroffer means you are accepting more responsibilities, so you need to ask yourself if you can live up to the higher expectations that come with a higher salary.

So, make sure you have weighed all of your options first, and your motivations for leaving, before you make a formal decision.

At Agile Recruit, our candidates and clients come first. So, if you are struggling with your resignation or are dealing with an employee who wants to leave and you unsure what to do — contact our expert team for advice at