Talent Pros Reveal How They Are Handling Pay Negotiations

How are you handling salary and pay negotiations differently than a year ago?

This question was posed to talent professionals for their insights. From offering raises more frequently and incrementally to researching and setting the salary budget ahead of time, there are several viewpoints that may help you update your organization’s salary and pay negotiation strategy to reflect industry changes over the past year.

Setting an Exact Salary (Not a Range)

We made the decision to be transparent about salaries from the start. When we launch a new job opening, we research salary benchmarks in our target countries, properly analyze the job-related skills that we’re looking for, and settle on a salary — not a range but an exact number — before we talk to candidates.

Our compensation package is communicated already in the job advertisement. In the first interview, we double-check that the candidates understand our compensation package and are excited by it. By setting the salary budget beforehand, we’ve improved our financial planning, too. We automatically attract the type of candidates that are suitable for our requirements, and because of the complete salary-transparency policy, we’re not wasting anybody’s time. Candidates and hiring managers are on the same page from the start. — Max Korpinen, Co-founder & CEO, Hireproof

Offering Pay-Negotiation Assistance

The pandemic has forced many companies to re-evaluate their compensation strategies. In particular, the gig economy has been impacted by the pandemic as workers face uncertain income and job prospects. We have a mixture of permanent and project-based workers, and we’re increasingly looking at ways to provide more certainty and stability for employees. 

One way to do this is to offer salary and pay negotiation assistance. At the same time, we are also aware of the need to address issues of equity and inclusion in the workplace. As a fair chance employer, we are looking at ways to promote diversity and inclusion through compensation practices. Ultimately, the goal is to create a more fair and equitable workplace for all employees.

By offering salary and pay negotiation assistance, we can help people secure fair and livable wages. In turn, this can help to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace. — Linda Shaffer, Chief People Operations Officer, Checkr

Being More Transparent With Compensation

You should always be transparent and list the salary range in the job description. The job market is such that there’s a large pool of talent out there, but many candidates have very specific salary expectations. Don’t be cagey, but rather lay it all out for everyone to see. You can save everyone time by displaying the salary range in your job postings, so only those who are OK with it apply to your company.Roman Olshansky, Director Of Business Development, On Time Talent Solutions

Offering Raises More Frequently and Incrementally

With soaring inflation and employees panicking about the cost of living, it’s no longer enough to evaluate and raise wages once a year. Because of this, we have instituted companywide compensation reviews twice a year, in which we evaluate and adjust employee wages according to market rate and inflation. In addition, we’re continuing to offer merit raises to our top performers if they have an outstanding annual performance review. — Sarah Dabby, Head of People, ClickTime

Amending Compensation Packages

With the current context of higher inflation and scarcity of talent in many industries and roles, I advise my clients (employers) to really look into all the aspects of the reward package when negotiating with candidates with high salary expectations that the company can’t meet. They can often change some aspects of the standard package that have value for candidates and employees alike. For instance, they may offer remote work and quantify the savings to employees, not just in terms of time but the cost of commuting by car or public transport, too. 

One of my clients put in place a private shuttle to help employees come to the office when they need to be face-to-face. Another offered fuel cards and grocery cards. This also helps employers express that they care about employees and are not simply throwing money at the problem but rather helping people handle their day-to-day challenges. — Sandrine Bardot, Compensation and Benefits Consultant, The Bardot Group

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Leveraging Information to Make Better Decisions

Candidates receiving offers today have the benefit of having more information available to them. As such, to facilitate effective salary negotiations, I encourage candidates to do extensive research on companies’ pay practices and philosophies.

Companies who handle total rewards well are often proud to disclose in detail their unique approach; by leveraging publicly available information shared by the company, or their employees and candidates, candidates should have a more complete picture of an organization’s approach to total rewards.

Also, with quickly advancing pay transparency laws, in a lot of areas, many companies are legally obligated to share their salary ranges proactively or upon request. — Tyren Thompson, Compensation Partner, Zoom

Preparing for More Negotiations With Candidates

Salary and pay negotiations are very different from an employer’s perspective. Prospective employees are more adamant about the base salary they wish to earn. Candidates often ask for a specific schedule or shift. Others ask for signing bonuses that are not included in the postings they applied for when other jobs that are vital to the organization have signing bonuses.

As a compensation professional, I review job offers and compare them to market data to ensure that the jobs are market-competitive while maintaining internal equity. Candidates who do not receive the pay they ask for decline the job offer after one attempt of negotiations. — Jennifer Brito, Senior Compensation Professional, Jackson Health System

Brett Farmiloe is the founder of Terkel, a knowledge platform that converts expert insights into blogs for brands. He's the author of the book Pursue The Passion and has spoken at various HR conferences over the years about employee-engagement topics. 

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