As a human resources professional, you are most likely involved in the hiring and onboarding process in some capacity. You may also eventually work with current hires to renegotiate contracts as well. Negotiation is an important skill to possess in the human resources sector, but it isn’t the only skill that matters. When negotiating with new hires, you may also need to utilize your ability to provide a persuasive argument, persevere through difficult discussions, and be able to ultimately find a compromise in order to come to a conclusion that works for both your company and your new hire.
Being prepared to negotiate in this way when hiring new employees is essential. According to this study, 64% of people attempt to negotiate their benefits or salary. If talent acquisition is high on your list of priorities, you may be even more interested to hear that 58.7% of survey participants consider an employer being open to negotiations extremely or very important when considering a job offer. To ensure you continue to bring on high-quality talent and retain that talent, you must be prepared to negotiate, even if those negotiations become a bit difficult.
How to prepare for negotiations
Much like you expect your potential new hires to have prepared for the interview, you also need to prepare for what happens when an offer is extended. While we all know what happens when one makes assumptions, my personal advice is to always assume that your new hire is going to want to negotiate. If you always assume they will ask to negotiate, you will never go unprepared or be caught off guard. Here’s what we advise you to do to prepare.
For your new hire, they’re most likely looking into information regarding pay and benefits, such as what the average salary is for their position, what types of benefits are negotiable, etc. In a way, their research is much easier than the research you need to conduct. While it helps to be well-informed on this information as well, you’ll also want to conduct research about what types of benefits are most important to employees, what percentage of employees want to negotiate salaries, etc.
As you most likely already know, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is a great resource for this type of information as they are frequently conducting studies and collecting data specifically to help human resource professionals. With numbers on your side, you’ll know what to expect walking into negotiations and how to hopefully walk away with a mutually beneficial situation.
Understand what you can offer
This one should be self-explanatory, but it does require you to communicate with your team and have a strong understanding of where your company stands financially and what your company is able to offer. This is where the more intense negotiations start.
Part of negotiating is compromising, especially when persuasion and perseverance start to fail. When searching for a compromise, your candidate may request that the salary be negotiated in return for relinquishing a few benefits or vice versa. When this happens, you’ll want to have already spoken to your team about what areas of the offer are up for negotiation and which are off-limits. By having a full understanding of what’s on the table, you can be better prepared to find a suitable compromise with your candidate and increase the chances that both parties come to an agreement.
Know when to walk away
Unless your company is looking to hire someone like Bill Gates, your team shouldn’t be bending over backward to keep a candidate happy if the candidate is being unreasonable. Your team and the candidate may not always see eye to eye, and that is okay. In fact, they may choose to look for employment elsewhere anyway. The same previously mentioned study also noted that around 17% of participants chose to leave the company after they were unable to agree on benefits.
It’s important to understand that you aren’t accepting defeat or losing if you and the candidate cannot come to an agreement. There are a plethora of variables that can cause negotiations to come to an unexpected conclusion. If your team was open to negotiations in the first place, you already put your best foot forward. At some point, both parties will need to decide when they aren’t willing to give up any more in the negotiation process.
If you’ve always had a knack for negotiating and debating, this part of your job may be a breeze. If you’re less versed in this area of human resources, that’s entirely alright too. These are all skills you can build up to and strengthen over time. Eventually, you’ll find your rhythm with negotiating and be prepared for any situation that arises when it comes to new hires, even the more difficult ones.
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