How to resign and prevent a counter offer

Having helped hundreds of executives successfully resign from their current employer, I have realised it is not an easy thing to do for most. The purpose of this blog is to advise you how to prevent your current employer from making a counter offer thereby putting you in an uncomfortable position and pressurising you to stay. This allows for a more positive exit so you can look forward to working with your new employer.

Coping with self-doubt: Many people feel nervous about resigning; They go through phases of thinking whether they have made the right decision and it’s important to realise that these are just normal feelings. There is always an element of risk in making a move but if you have done your due diligence then nine times out of ten you will be fine.

The key objective is to get your business / boss to accept your resignation: It is vital that your boss accepts your resignation and that you make it clear you are not open to staying. Do tell them you have enjoyed your time working there but at the same time stress your decision to leave is final.

The right use of language: I would recommend using language like ‘This is a fantastic opportunity for me now and in the long term and I am sure you appreciate this is about what is right for me with an organisation I have always wanted to work for’.

It’s not you, it’s me: Be prepared to be asked ‘why are you leaving?’ Again, it is important that you tell them it isn’t about not enjoying working with the business or the role or working for your boss (even though this may be the case). It is about the role and company you are going to.

Stay resolute: They may well be shocked that you are leaving and sometimes bosses (regardless of their level) can react poorly. Make sure you stick to your guns and remain calm.

Discussing your exit: Plan what needs to be done before you hand in your notice. Be clear on what needs to be done before you leave and offer a handover in the coming weeks. Offering to recruit or train your successor may allow you to negotiate an earlier exit.

Counter-offers are about them not you: Counter offers come in many guises with the offer of more money, promotion, ‘big plans’ etc… These big plans rarely materialise, and the stats show that 75% of people that accept counter offers want to move on again within six months. The key question you must ask yourself is – Why are they offering to pay me what I am worth when I decide to leave?  The reason is that replacing you in terms of cost and hassle is significant. A counter offer is more about their interests than yours.

This blog was written by Lee De Souza, the Founder and Managing Director of Harrison Bridge. He has fifteen years executive search and executive interim recruitment experience across several sectors up to board level including nonexecutive appointments.
Lee has delivered over 200+ searches in the UK & Internationally including volume projects and recruiting entire executive teams.

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