October 17, 2013

Empower Managers to “Knockout” Salary Negotiations in 3 Steps

boxer getting knocked outThe word management sounds powerful; managers have the power right? Not always, especially when it comes to salary negotiations. A lot of resources have been spent getting the right candidate to this step hiring process. To see him or her walk out the door means starting all over again and perhaps finding a lesser candidate to take the position. The candidate will often time have the upper hand in salary negotiations.

There are a few reasons to tread lightly during salary negotiations:

  • There is a strong possibility that they could go elsewhere and receive more pay.
  • The organization might need this employee last month and they’re feeling the strain.
  • The recruitment process takes time and money.
  • Any negotiations take confidence and skill that not every manager has.

The Empowering Part

Negotiation Skills

Very rarely are managers trained to handle tough salary negotiations. Current employees as well as job candidates require these negotiations, and there’s no reason for management to be so ill-equipped to lead the process.  Management should be fully versed in the company’s compensation strategy and how to relay that to candidates and employees. Being transparent with management means that they can be transparent with workers. Managers need as much information on the candidate or employee as possible in order to be effective comp negotiators.

  • Skill set
  • Experience
  • Previous pay
  • Time with the company or time with the previous company
  • Education
  • Current industry standard of pay

According to a PayScale slide share on compensation negotiations, management should be trained in the following areas to up their negotiation skills:

  • Time of conversation
  • Confidence
  • Empathy/Likability
  • Ownership of Decision

Sell the Company

Money is very rarely the deal breaker in negotiationsif you play your cards right. Candidates want to work for a company that doesn’t only supply them with a living, but one that supplies them with a position and environment that they want to be a part of. Selling the company culture and employer brand will very often trump the dollar sign.

A great way to give candidate’s an inside look at the organization is to connect them with current employees in their future role. Managers should also emphasize areas and opportunities for growth within the organization. Cultural fit is vital for employers; it only makes sense to let the candidate and current employees be a part of that.

Alternative Solutions

This is another example of how compensation might have little to do with compensation negotiations. As the workforce changes and technology advances, Millennials enter and Boomers exit, workers’ needs are shifting. This new hiring atmosphere has more of an emphasis on time and freedom.

Today’s workers are looking for flexibility. They want flextime options, job sharing and the freedom and responsibility of managing their own time. This is a workforce that believes that work done, trumps time spent.  Telecommuting, perks and more vacation time are what matters to this bunch, but generalities can’t always be counted on. A major part of negotiations will depend upon the individual needs of the candidate or employee. Again, having a full profile of the person with whom the manager is negotiating is the key to a tailored compensation package proposal.


Read more in Salary Negotiation

Courtney McGann is the content creator and PR gal for Red Branch Media, an Omaha-based marketing firm. Red Branch Media was formed in 2006 as a simple consultancy. Today, the firm is a full-service B2B marketing agency, primarily focused on human resources and global workforce vendors. In the past Courtney has managed online communities, professional social outlets, marketing campaigns and event planning.