Successful Salary Negotiation – Some Avenues

It is always delicate to negotiate a starting salary or a salary increase with an employee, especially when they are critical for the company. Here are some tips for successful negotiation.

A CROP-CHRP survey conducted in March 2018, reveals that 41% of Quebec workers believe they are being paid less than they deserve. In the current context of labour scarcity, that is of concern to employers.

Indeed, although salary is only one of the ingredients of job satisfaction, an organization which wants to attract the best elements must offer remuneration that the employee believes is fair, while respecting its own ability to pay. Here are some tips to achieve this shrewd balance.

Think ahead

First of all, the employer must define the position accurately. What will the employee’s tasks and responsibilities be? What skills and experience are required? The answers will make it possible to link the salary offer with the internal salary scale on the one hand, and on the other hand with the job market.

To compare a salary offer with that prevailing on the market, it is better to rely on the databases of companies that specialize in remuneration. Otherwise, it is possible to consult the salary data of Emploi Québec. “These data are not up to date, but an HR professional, especially if he specializes in remuneration, will be able to do the math to update them,” says Nathalie Meunier, CHRP, founder and president of Talents : Stratégie Inc.

Address the delicate question

Because of the company’s financial situation or a labour shortage pushing salaries upwards, it may be necessary to offer a salary lower than those of your competitors. In this case, it is better to probe candidates’ salary expectations during a pre-interview phone call. By explaining the situation at the outset, you can ensure that those who agree to continue the selection process do so knowingly.

Is there any room for manoeuvre? Nathalie Meunier advises keeping the subject for the end of the interview, but not delaying discussing it. “We wait for the end of the interview to ensure that we want to move forward, but in the current context of full employment, if we wait longer we risk losing candidates.”

Putting other elements in the balance

Other elements of remuneration besides salary can be put forward in the negotiation. Granting longer vacations, for example, “Bosses increasingly understand that additional vacations don’t cost the company any more. And they are very appreciated by the employees,” says Nathalie Meunier.

The possibility of working remotely and flexible hours are often welcome as well. However, they are becoming more common, which could remove their advantage in negotiation. As for group insurance plans, they are of little interest to young workers, but become more attractive if they include a travel insurance component.

Increase with equity

To avoid disparities, it would be better to go ahead with requests for salary increases. Ideally, “offer a raise to everyone, based on their progress and the company’s ability to pay, taking effect at the beginning of the fiscal year.” This limits the sense of unfairness between the organization’s employees.

And if we find that two employees with similar responsibilities appear to receive different salaries, we can take advantage of these annual increases to catch up.

Manage dissatisfaction

In the case of an employee who feels underpaid, Nathalie Meunier advises taking the time to study his request. “We review his experience, we compare his situation with other employees. So we’ll see if a catch up is necessary.”

One thing for sure, is that salary dissatisfaction must not be taken lightly.

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