Negotiating Your Severance: Six Ways To Get Your Best Package

Negotiating Your Severance: Six Ways To Get Your Best Package

The numbers are staggering. So many people have lost their jobs during the pandemic. It can be heartbreaking, no doubt. But it might also turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

I speak from experience. I’ve been stopped a few times in my life. And, as a leader I have had to fire people. I’ve been on both sides of that disappointment.

Being stopped is scary, but it offered me a chance to take a breath and think deeply about what I really wanted to do next and where I wanted my professional life to go. It can be that for you, too.
But to do that, you have to have resources and money to tide you over till your next assignment. You need time to consider your options.

That’s why I found Deborah Acosta’s “How to Negotiate a Better Severance If You Are Laid Off” in the January 4, 2020 _Wall Street Journa_l timely and interesting. It is filled with great tips:

Here are six pieces of sage advice from Deborah and her posse:

1.  Keep Your Wits. Yes, this is a difficult moment but stay strong. This is your opportunity to negotiate a package that both you and your employer can agree upon, and to do that, you need a clear head.

2.  Look For Alignments. Career Coach, Paolo Gallo, advises: “An organization has the duty to listen to what is important to people and people have the duty to find out what’s important to the organization, and then find a compromise” Deborah explains: Perhaps you are considering launching a consulting business. You could negotiate a deal where you stay on, for a time, as a consultant while pursuing other clients. The “win” for your former employer is decreased staff and benefits costs while capitalizing on your institutional knowledge. Your “win” is your association with the company helps you attract new clients while launching your new firm.

3.  Find a New Job. We all know it’s better to have a job when you’re looking for a new one. “You can request your severance be paid out in installments over a period of time and that your name stays on your employer’s website until you find your next job,” writes Deborah.

4.  Check Your Contract or Employee Handbook. While companies typically aren’t legally required to provide severance pay, the policies have been spelled out and you job is to ensure your employer is following the policy. “If there is a discrepancy, point it out during your negotiation,” says Deborah.

5.  Follow The Three P’s. While severance pay is mostly reserved for salaried employees, think through the lens of the three P’s, advises Don Wylie, a managing partner at the recruiting firm Lucas Group. “Power, Personality and Politics” are key. “Talk to the right people. Sit down with those who have been your mentors, your allies. If you can quantify your contributions (cost savings you delivered, clients you brought in, etc.) even better. When a large group of employees get laid off, the company [can] swipe with a broad brush and forget individual contributions.”

6.  Explain Your Personal Situation. Perhaps your daughter has just started college, or your spouse is ill. “As a general rule, nobody wants to see another human being suffer, Mr. Wylie says. “If you don’t explain, obviously you are not going to get anything.

I would add this admonition to this fine list of to-do’s : Don’t let losing your job shake your confidence in yourself. As the late great Don Clifton once said, “Every person on the planet can do at least one thing better than ten thousand other people.” Every person. That means you and me. We are uniquely gifted and talented in ways that equip us for greatness.

So, take a look in the mirror and remind yourself that you can do this. Spend time dreaming about what might be next for you. Dream big.

Then, go get it.
I wish you all the best,
Jill

Forbes.com Contributor

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