As an executive, you hold significant responsibility for your company, your employees, and your customers or clients– and your compensation package should reflect that.
If you were recently hired for an executive role and need help negotiating your executive compensation and benefits package, this guide is for you. Find seven of the most effective tips and strategies you can utilize below.
1. Identify Your Target Salary Range
Before you begin actively negotiating your executive compensation package, take some time to figure out your target base salary range. What is the absolute minimum you’re willing to accept, and what’s an ideal upper number you’d be happy to receive?
When identifying your target range, do some research to find out what other executives in your industry are earning. Consider the cost of living in your city and state as well to ensure you make enough to meet your basic needs, adequately support your family, etc.
2. Consider Necessary Extras
Your salary is only one part of your executive compensation package. Plenty of other elements comprise it, too, including company stock options, a business vehicle, insurance packages, loan forgiveness, relocation packages and a severance package should the company decide to terminate your employment. Some companies will offer assistance with listing and selling your home as a part of a relocation package while others will provide a lump sum payment to assist with your moving expenses. You may also be able to negotiate stock or options as a part of your compensation package along with the terms of when such options will vest or accelerate at separation. Pay close attention to the type of company you are joining to determine whether a change in control package would be appropriate and what circumstances would trigger that change in control.
Think carefully about the must-haves that you want included in your package — and get specific about what you actually want and need. The more specific you can be at this point, the easier it will be to ensure you’re being treated fairly later.
3. Wait to Discuss Your Salary Requirements
It might be tempting to jump straight into your salary requirements during the interview process. However, it’s best to wait to discuss those requirements until after you have A) thoroughly explained what you bring to the table and why you’re qualified for the job and B) actually received a job offer.
There will be plenty of time to negotiate your compensation and benefits package. During the interview, the main focus should be on why the company ought to choose you over the other candidates.
4. Wait for the Company’s Offer
Following up on Tip #3, wait for the company’s offer before you begin the negotiation process. If you wait for their offer, you have more information to work with.
For example, you might find that the company’s starting salary offer is far higher than the upper limit of your preferred salary range but that the other benefits you are looking for are missing This gives you room to negotiate even though the base salary is more than your expected.
If you didn’t wait for this information to come through, you might end up asking for far less than the company was willing to pay you — and you likely would have gotten that salary, meaning you’d be paid far less than you deserved.
5. Highlight and Quantify the Value You Provide
During the negotiation process, look for opportunities to highlight and quantify the value you bring to the company. For example, you might reference past successes in other roles and how much money you saved a previous employer, the specific percentage by which you raised revenue, etc.
When you quantify your value in this way, it’s easier for the hiring committee to see why they should pay you the amount you’re requesting.
6. Request a Copy of the Plan
Always request a copy of the compensation and benefits plan and review it before signing. This review helps you ensure you know exactly what you’re agreeing to, gives you a chance to correct any mistakes, and will save you from unpleasant surprises later on.
7. Work with an Executive Compensation Lawyer
Remember that you don’t have to navigate the executive compensation package negotiation process by yourself. Consider hiring an executive compensation attorney to assist you.
Working with an executive compensation attorney provides you with extra support during this potentially difficult and time-consuming process. An attorney will also help you understand all the elements of your compensation package and ensure you and the company come to an agreement that is mutually beneficial.
Negotiating executive compensation packages can be overwhelming and intimidating. Follow the tips outlined in this guide, though, and you’ll have an easier time asking for what you’re worth and setting yourself up to be paid fairly.
Remember that it’s helpful to have professional support during this process guiding you from the background on each decision and negotiation. If you’re unsure of where to begin or just need additional assistance, consider partnering with an executive compensation lawyer during negotiations.
The Hamilton Law Firm can help in these matters. Please reach out to schedule an executive compensation consultation.