6 Tips to Negotiate Employee Salaries

Man and woman shaking hands after successful salary negotiations.

You don’t want to lose great talent because of failed salary negotiations. But it’s no easy task – ensuring you don’t develop a reputation for being “stingy.” Or, safeguarding yourself from being taken advantage of and overpaying employees.

The next time a great candidate (or talented employee) wants to discuss an offer or their salary, follow these 6 tips to ensure successful negotiations:

1. Research the Market Rate

Step one: research the position’s salary range. You can utilize resources like Indeed, Salary.com, Compdata, and Glassdoor to find the average salary of a job title reported by both employers and employees in your area. But, be careful! You’ll want to check to make sure your role and responsibilities match the benchmark job to which you’re comparing your internal position.

2. Create a Salary Range within Budget

Step two: find a salary range that works for your budget. It’s likely that you’ll interview candidates with various strengths, backgrounds, and levels of experience. Having a predetermined salary range will help you know where to begin negotiations. But, it will also allow you to increase the offer to the higher end of the range if necessary while staying within budget. Plus, you’ll know that your offer is fair because you’ve done your research.

3. Create a Strong, Fair Offer Using a Precise Number

Step three: put together a fair offer and don’t stray from using odd numbers. Coming in with a strong offer will help the candidate recognize that you value their skills. It sets the stage for successful negotiations. And, by using a precise number, candidates are more likely to know that you’ve done your research. They’ll be less likely to ask for a larger adjustment than if you’d presented a round number (ex. Precise number: 45,380 vs Round number: 45,000).

4. Prepare for Counter Offers

Step four: prepare for counter offers! Unfortunately, many candidates and employees utilize counter offers to negotiate a better salary or work options. And, the statistics surrounding counter offers are pretty staggering. It’s likely that your ideal candidate will receive a counter offer.

So, you need to arm yourself with lots of statistics to help them see the truth! Give them statistics like, “80% of candidates who accept a counter offer from their current employer end up leaving within 6 months.” Or, give them content explaining why managers present counter offers.

5. Find Out What Matters to the Candidate

Step five: know what your candidate really wants – it may not be salary-related! Sometimes, candidates or employees are looking for something different in their work life. What they really may want is to have more work-from-home options, more PTO, better benefits, or better opportunities for advancement.

Find out what matters most to your candidate or employee and try to build-in options to earn their loyalty.

6. Don’t Over Negotiate

Step six: Prepare a competitive, final & best offer. Just because you’ve done your research doesn’t mean the candidate or employee has done theirs. Help to educate them and show transparency about how you determined your offer. There shouldn’t be any surprises on either end of the negotiations.

Working within a small hiring budget? Read our tips for hiring top talent on a tight budget.

Visit The Ultimate Guide to Hiring Digital Talent page for more information about digital salaries!

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