Points of negotiation versus point to walk away

Before entering into the negotiation process, it is important to identify to what level you the candidate will happily accept for the role. Negotiation is not a case of trying to see “how much you can get out of your potential employer”, negotiation is about reaching a mutually rewarding outcome for both the job applicant and the employer. Candidates must be clear on what they are seeking from a role / employer and know the point in which they are prepared to walk away from the job. Negotiation is not a game. When you enter into negotiation of salary & conditions, both parties must be prepared that at any time, the other party may walk away or simply withdraw the offer.

Contract – Get it all in writing

Whilst verbal negotiations are legally binding, often they are hard to prove. Therefore, it is critical to ensure all verbally agreed information is backed up by a formal letter of offer/conformation and employment contract in writing before work is commenced. Both parties should ensure that they sign the contract / document to ensure that it is legally binding. Points to consider to be included in a formal offer of employment:

  • Position title
  • Start Date
  • Resignation notice period
  • Probation period
  • Agreed Salary/Superannuation/Additional benefits
  • Pay cycle
  • Any extra verbally agreed upon bonuses – Rostered days off/increase in amount of sick leave/holiday leave

Annual performance reviews

Each year or alternatively when a person’s job responsibilities change, it is important to take part in a performance review. Often this is a good opportunity for employees to bring up issues with employers or come to new agreements in regards to some intrinsic rewards. Following are a few tips for a salary increase negotiation:

Salary increase

The most positive way to approach this is to ask for extra work and responsibility and link this to a pay rise, if not immediately then in the future. This approach allows employers to see your capability and offers a better impression than simply asking for more pay for doing the same job.

Pay rises are reflective of an individual’s performance and hence the results of a performance review. While most child care centres do give an annual performance review and CPI salary increase, it certainly isn’t mandatory. Therefore it is vital that all targets / KPI’s are met to achieve good results in a performance review and demonstrate one’s ability to be proactive to be in the best position to receive a salary increase. Many child care centres / OOSH Services say they don’t give a raise until the employer does 20% more work than he did when he was initially hired. Here are some things employees should take into account when considering their worth:

  • The job description (rather than job title)
  • Current responsibilities, including any management or leadership tasks or additional
  • Years of experience and seniority in the child care centre
  • Level of education / qualifications achieved
  • Location

Tips for negotiation

  • Negotiating is about compromise. Focus on goals NOT winning.
  • Do your market research, know your award / market worth
  • Identify what can and cannot be parted with. Identify what is most important (salary/career development/bonus) and those that are less important (prestigious job title).
  • Suppress all emotions. Constantly remembering the goal will help achieve an appropriate level of detachment enabling the negotiation to be more productive and clear for both parties.
  • Take time to evaluate the offer. Consider the total value of the job offer including all its benefits.
  • Be realistic. Researching market value and typical salary ranges for the role within that industry. Entry level salaries (trainees, Certificate III’s) are less negotiable than Diploma, Early Childhood Teacher and Director salaries.
  • Be appreciative and respectful.
  • Don’t be greedy or unreasonable and know when to quit the bargaining. Over negotiating can be a deterrent for an employer.

Remember negotiations are the foundation for the employee / employer relationship.

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