Last month we shared ideas on how to build your FM resume and prepare to interview for your next workplace management job. Hopefully you have had success, perhaps even went out on a few interviews. Your next step should be preparing to negotiate the job offer that will hopefully follow the interview.
As the workplace manager, it is necessary for your negotiation skills to be on point. You will find yourself brokering agreements with the company’s various vendors and can also put those skills to work when “selling” your facility ideas to the executives upstairs. So, not only will you find out how much the hiring company values you, you also have the opportunity to show them what you are worth.
Despite the added value of strong negotiating skills, studies show this skill does not come naturally to most Americans. A LinkedIn survey of over 2,000 professionals revealed that 42% of Americans are uncomfortable negotiating, while approximately 25% admit they have never negotiated in the workplace. The study also showed that 39% of LinkedIn's U.S. members feel anxious about negotiation, more so than participants from other countries. Below is an example of how your negotiations should go, hopefully landing you your dream workplace management position.
Lisa Walker, the job-seeker in this example, shows she can be flexible, but is ready to walk away if the hiring manager, Bill, is not ready to be flexible as well.
Bill: Hi, Lisa! Sandra told me she has shared our job offer with you.
Lisa: Yes, she did Bill. Thanks so much. I’m excited to join the team.
Bill: So, what are your thoughts?
Lisa: I’m really excited to join ABC Company. We’re a little ways apart on salary. Do you have a moment to talk about that?
Bill: Yes, I have a few minutes. I’m not sure how much room we have for negotiation though.
Lisa: I understand. I was hoping we could put our heads together and find a way to bridge the gap. In order to take the workplace management position, I would need about $65,000. The current offer is for $57,000.
Bill: That’s definitely a big difference.
Lisa: Yes, it certainly. I am sure you have met with a great group of candidates, with a wide range of experience levels. After nine years in facilities management, four as team leader, it does not make sense for me to make a lateral move. But I thought we might be able to brainstorm and come up with an agreement we can all live with.
Bill: I can tell you there is no way I can raise the starting salary by $8,000.
Lisa: Here is my proposal. If you could start me out at $62,000 and add a one-time signing bonus, we could all get what we need. You wouldn’t have someone off the salary charts, and I would get the income I need to join the team. I know the bonus is only for the first year, but I know by then the company will be thrilled with my results, so I am willing to take my chances.
Bill: What about adding an extra week of vacation?
Lisa: An extra week of vacation is a great suggestion. But at $62,000, an extra week is worth a little less than $1500. If you’re able to add a week of vacation into my offer letter, I could accept the starting salary of $62,000, with just a two-thousand-dollar sign-on bonus.
Bill: I will say, as the Workplace Manager, you will need to negotiate with our vendors from time to time. You have shown me your negotiation skills.
Bill: I can start you at $60,000 plus a $2,000 signing bonus and three weeks vacation.
Lisa: We are getting there. Do you have a record of short-term goals the company wishes to accomplish? Perhaps I could receive a $1,000 bonus if I complete everything on the list in my first ninety days? That way I am closer to the $65,000 I need and you know I will be here to lead the Facilities team to the company’s short and long-term goals right out of the gate.
Bill: How about a five hundred dollar bonus?
Lisa: We have a deal! I will be on the look-out for the revised offer letter. Thank you so much for your time Bill.
While salary negotiating may feel a little uncomfortable, it is a skill you must possess if you wish to be successful. Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D. states that “Probably the biggest mistake you can make is simply deciding to settle and accept whatever offer you receive.” By accepting an offer that doesn’t meet your needs, you set yourself up for a loss for years to come—with a lower salary base, not only will you earn less, you will receive smaller raises and retirement funds (since both are based on a percentage of your salary). And since this is a valuable skill for your workplace management position, you stand to lose out on the position to someone else by not negotiating your worth.