We worked to assess the landscape by asking two important questions:
1. What mattered most for her life and lifestyle? Completing our intake prompted our client to think about the levers of this process in a completely different manner. What started out in her mind as a few points to improve (salary and equity) became a much more robust and colorful picture, including many other factors she had not previously considered including paid time off, flexibility on time in office and a budget for conferences and continuing education.
2. What is reasonable compensation for someone given her experience and knowledge and how far could we push this package? We evaluated her offers not only against her current compensation levels, but also against comparable offers. We discovered that there was a lot of room for improvement with salary, equity compensation and bonuses.
In this instance, our client wanted to remain on the front lines of the conversations with the potential employers so we acted as advisors, providing feedback at every turn, adding strategy and composing emails on her behalf.
After learning what was most important to her, we identified two key points of leverage.
She had competing suitors that we could play off of each other.
She was very happy and secure in her current position. To move to another company, she would need an offer with significant upside.
The first step in our strategy was to slow down negotiations with the company that was farther along in the process while speeding up negotiations with the other. We established quickly with both suitors that they were going to need to make compelling and competitive offers if they were to succeed in their desire to hire her. One of the companies came in with a very compelling aggressive offer; the other made an anemic offer that was lower by every metric.
The second step was to craft a dream counter-offer that factored in everything that was important to the client. It included a great salary and equity package, more paid time off and a budget for continuing education and conferences. It was a stretch, but justified by our knowledge of comparable compensation packages and the fact that our client would be happy to walk away from any deal and stay in her current role.
The third step of our strategy was to focus on improving the better of the two initial offers. We approached the company with the leading offer and presented our carefully constructed counter-offer. We told the company that if they met all of our requests by a certain date, we would not seek an additional offer from the other suitor.
The company met most of our requests and our client felt it was close enough to her dream package that she accepted the offer.
We helped negotiate a final package that was more than double our client’s current compensation. She secured a much more impressive title, which will help for her next job change. We were able to improve her quality of life by negotiating more paid vacation and a guaranteed budget for continuing education and conference attendance. And finally, we helped ensure a smooth transition by clarifying and negotiating her reporting structure.