Suppose you sailed through an interview and finally landed on that dream job which you have always wanted. But as the HR runs through with you your compensation package, you realise that the starting salary figure is not what you had in mind. Or worse, it is significantly lower than what you had expected. What should you do then?
Undoubtedly, most of us would have been caught in a situation as such. While it is only natural to want to negotiate for a better starting pay. We are also aware of the risks associated with questioning the potential employer on the lower than expected salary – a negative first impression, a seemingly calculative new hire or worse, revoking of the job offer. As such, we tend to feel compelled to accept the job offer. After all, a job – albeit one with a lower starting pay – is better than no job right?
Wrong. In fact, as a job applicant, you can and definitely should negotiate for a better starting salary. Here are some ways to negotiate for a better starting pay smartly and without burning the bridges with your potential employer.
DO YOUR DUE RESEARCH
Even before you go for the interview at the prospective company, you should have already done your due research on the company and job that you are applying for. Have a clear understanding of the roles and responsibilities that the role involves as well as the appropriate market compensation package. There are plenty of online recruitment websites that publish pay ranges for certain jobs. While you might not be able to determine the exact market compensation package for a particular job. The pay ranges should provide you with a good gauge of how much other companies are compensating their employees for a similar role.
PONDER OVER THE OFFER
Being offered the (dream) job can be exciting, particularly if you have been job hunting for some time. However, that does not necessarily mean that you have to accept any job offers that come along straightaway. Regardless of how generous the job offer might seem, request for time to consider it properly. Weigh in the pros and cons of accepting the job, including salary, benefits, culture, workload and career advancement, before considering whether a counter offer or salary negotiation is required. Most people tend to worry that asking for additional time to ponder over the job offer might result in the company withdrawing the job offer. However, that is rarely the case.
SHOW OFF A LITTLE
To get the salary that you desire, you will need to convince your prospective employer why you deserve it. When making your counter offer, list down your accomplishments and experience to make a strong case as to why you deserve a higher pay than the offer on paper. Demonstrate clearly how your experiences and skills can bring value to the company.
LOOK BEYOND DOLLARS
Salary negotiation include more than the dollars and cents. Do remember to address other components of the compensation package – higher paid vacation leave, flexible hours, medical coverage of dependents or bonuses. Instead of merely asking of the sake of asking, justify to your prospective employer why you need this additional benefit. Could it be that you have to pick up your five-year-old daughter from daycare at 5:00pm every alternate days? Emphasize to your prospective employers at the very start that these are benefits which are important to you. Even if the answer is no, your prospective manager may eventually be open to granting you that flexible work schedule if you make a strong case about your situation.
GET EVERYTHING ON PAPER
Once you have reached an agreement with the HR and your prospective employer. Be sure to get everything on the contract before you sign it. This is to avoid any nasty surprises once you start your new job.
Making Small Victories Bigger
We often see organisations celebrating large wins by employees – closure of a major deal or perhaps getting a large and established client onboard. But what about small victories that employees have achieved?
Regardless of whether an achievement is deemed as significant or less significant by the organisation. It is still an achievement nonetheless. And recognising this feat that your employees have accomplished goes a long way in motivating and engaging your employees in the long run.
Recognising small victories does not necessarily require additional costs but simply thoughtful strategy and effort.
WHY IT IS IMPORTANT
In a 2019 article Forget Cash. Here Are Better Ways To Motivate Employees by specialist in behavioral science, Dr Ashley Whillans from the Harvard Business School, he mentioned that “what really matters in the workplace is helping employees feel appreciated.” The article highlights that while cash such as bonuses, incentive pay and off-cycle salary increases are often seen as motivators to drive loyalty out of workers, it may not always be the best incentive.
In fact, what employees “crave” more is to feel appreciated by their managers and are not afraid to show it – be it through a gift card of pulling off impressive projects or even a simple “thank you” for a job well done.
WHERE ORGANISATIONS FAIL
In many companies, providing recognition and rewards based on work performance tend to be trapped in senior management or HR. Where only a handful of people have the ability to recognise and reward achievements by employees. Given that there tend to be a limit as to how much these people can give out in terms of cash or recognition. The decision then falls upon these group of people to decide which achievements are deemed worthy of praise and to actually administer it. This then leads to a system whereby significant contributions go unnoticed, noticed too late, or noticed but not recognised at all.
HOW TO ACCOMPLISH IT
Bypassing that system by giving your entire team, regardless of whether you are from the HR department or Marketing department, the ability to publicly recognise employees’ achievements is one of the best ways to transform small victories into large wins. This allows your employees to recognise and be rewarded in that moment of accomplishment before the impact fades. At the same time, employees who are constantly recognised for their efforts and achievements are likely to feel more engaged and invested in putting in their best efforts for the organisation.
Supporting a culture whereby small victories are recognised and rewarded beyond monetary incentives goes a long way in driving employees’ morale. This additional efforts from your senior management. Managers and even co-workers cost nothing but the return on this investment is no doubt priceless.
Differentiating Between Goals, Objectives, and Outcomes
What is the difference between goals, objectives, and outcomes? After all, they seem to be synonymous with measuring employees’ performance. However, when it comes down to understanding how to differentiate and improve an employee’s performance. Perhaps there might be a need to differentiate between these three words.
This then leads us to define an objective as “a specific result that a person or system aims to achieve within a time frame and with available resources.” Essentially, objectives are more specific and easier to measure than goals.
Finally, outcomes are the “determination and evaluation of the results of an activity, plan, process, or program and their comparison with the intended or projected results”.
The problem with these three “measurements” is that organisations, managers and employees tend to focus only on one aspect. If the organisation is outcome-focused. This is good as it helps to set the direction for managers and employees to set their goals.
To truly keep employees engaged and increase productivity levels, employees need to be able to see the value of their work. And that is that is where alignment in terms of objectives, goals and outcomes have to be in place.
While there is no solution for every organisation. Perhaps the way to improve the system is to utilise objectives as a basis for creating goals. At the same time, there should be constant feedback and communication sessions. Which between both employees and managers to ensure that alignment.