YESTERDAY’S article discussed how to prepare for a salary negotiation and suggested alternative benefits if your boss rejects your request for more money.

Today, we look at how you can come to a solution that satisfies both you and your boss.

Sometimes, negotiation ends in a stalemate. The employee leaves unhappy, and — as is often the case when a boss’s hands are tied by rules or other constraints — the boss leaves frustrated. Friction remains, along with the employee’s declining motivation and commitment to the organisation.

The economy may be tough, but talented employees with in-demand skills will find other options. The unhappy, talented employee is attractive to other employers, and if he leaves, the losses will be great (recruiting and training costs, learning curves, lowered morale among remaining employees, loss of employee’s clients).

Research suggests it costs as much as 2.5 times the annual salary to replace a professional or managerial employee.

To avoid this situation, prepare to present a “yes-able” alternative. For example, you might negotiate an increase (or bonus) that is tied to the accomplishment of a specific goal:

“If my plan for decreasing production costs succeeds and I can demonstrate a 5 per cent reduction by Dec 31, I think it’s fair to receive a bonus equivalent to 10 per cent of that overall saving, with another 10 per cent of that savings distributed among the team I lead.

“Compared to this time last year, that would mean a $300,000 saving: $30,000 to me, $30,000 split among the team of six, and $240,000 saving to the company. How can we get senior management’s approval on this?”


“How about we make the raise (or bonus) contingent on exceeding my sales targets? That is, if I exceed my target by 10 per cent, I get a 5 per cent bonus, and if I exceed my target by 20 per cent, I get a 10 per cent bonus?”

Another yes-able alternative is a phased-in agreement:

“Considering the data I presented which shows I am underpaid by 20 per cent compared to all the recent new hires, how about we increase my salary by 5 per cent in June, with an additional increase of 5 per cent at year-end, if I bring my project in on time and on budget?”

Or, at the very least, you might get your boss to agree to revisit the conversation at a specific time, for example, in three months.

Closing the deal

Whatever is decided in the negotiation, be sure you nail down the specifics of your agreement (verbally, and in a follow-up e-mail), including the measures to be used and timelines of a phased agreement.

Thank your boss for taking the time to discuss this important issue, and remind him of the benefits he and the company will reap.

In tough economic times, your good performance is more valuable than ever. There may be cheaper employees available, but no one knows the job — or is as committed to seeing the company succeed — as well as you.

Remind yourself of that, and prepare yourself thoroughly to remind your boss what you deserve and why. You might not get everything you ask for, but you will certainly get none of what you don’t ask for.