How To Hone Your Negotiation Skills

How To Hone Your Negotiation Skills

How to hone your negotiation skills so that you can score more on-the-job perks!

As if we don’t already know and feel it, we spend a significant portion of our lives at work. The average person will spend around a third of their lives, or almost 100 000 hours of their lives, doing their job. Just thinking about it is enough to make us exhausted! But knowing that you are entitled to, or are able to negotiate certain perks can make your working life all the more pleasant. Here’s how to negotiate your way to some better benefits, which should make all those hours working for the Man feel slightly less arduous and much more fulfilling.

Gift of the gab

One of the necessary tools for anyone, and especially those who work for other people, is the ability to negotiate. This can help you to set clear boundaries so that you and your employer are on the same page when it comes to what your key responsibilities are, as well as what you’re entitled to perk-wise. ‘If there is something that you wish to negotiate with your employer – approach them!’ advises Michelle le Roux of Exceed Human Resource Consultants. ‘Some employees are unsure of themselves, and are too scared to ask and then put themselves back on the job market again when, in actual fact, their needs could have been met in their current position.’ But not all of us are naturally good at asking the powers that be for more money, more benefits or a more flexible work day.

The best way to go about any type of negotiation is to come up with a win-win scenario; one that benefits both you and your employer. Instead of simply asking for something, offer them something that you can do in return, such as taking on additional work if your schedule permits, or explain how this arrangement can be
a good solution for all parties. Going in aggressively might seem more effective, but this can actually just create tension which, in turn, can yield the exact results you DON’T want. In other words, stay calm, and professional.

A head start

The ideal time to negotiate what benefits you’d like from your workplace is when you’re first hired and in the contract-signing phase. But in these transition periods, we can sometimes be overwhelmed and not feel as though we are in a position to ask more from a company. I mean, they already gave you a job, right? Wrong! You need to not only know your worth, but also think about your lifestyle and financial needs. Some companies offer perks such as medical aid, flexi-time and regular increases, while others don’t. This means that it’s up to you to figure out what you need from your employer in order to be a contented cog in a (presumably) well-oiled machine.

Changing things up

But what if you have been working for a company for some time and have been watching your co-workers getting increases, promotions and perks from the side lines, and you feel that you are just as deserving of some loving from your company? Are you doomed to wait and see if your salary goes up to cover inflation? Not if you are proactive. ‘Anyone is entitled to negotiate on salaries, bonus structures, package layouts and more flexible hours, but you will have to familiarise yourself, and be in-line with the company’s policy,’ explains Michelle. ‘While many employers won’t necessarily settle on packages that fall outside of their policy, they should at least be open to discuss it.’ And that, my friends, is how you get your foot in the door on your journey to better benefits.

In terms of your approach, you need to go in prepared, well-versed in what the organisational policies are (so that you don’t try and negotiate something that you are actually already entitled too – whoops!) and free from emotion. ‘When you take the plunge and decide to approach management with your proposal, conduct yourself professionally and get to the point,’ says Michelle. This will show that you are organised, informed and that you mean business. Good advice.

For the full feature, grab your October issue of Balanced Life.

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