Salary Smarts: Six Tips for Negotiating Remote Compensation


Finding the right talent for your organization is key, but that’s only half the battle when it comes to putting together the perfect team. You also need to work out a salary figure and contract that works for both sides of the equation. Here are six easy ways to negotiate a fair figure when hiring a new remote staffer.

  1. Play up the cost-cutting advantages of a home office. Most commuters spend hundreds of dollars every single month—on going to and from work, eating lunch (and coffee/snacks) during work hours, on clothes dry-cleaning, and other expenses that won’t exist any longer once they work remotely. Time is money too of course, so the removal of the innumerable hours spent every year on a train, bus or stuck in traffic should serve as a huge boon to most remote workers.
  2. Aim for a win-win outcome. This really applies to any negotiation, but particularly when bringing new employees onboard for projects or full-time employment. While the natural instinct is for employers to maneuver workers into the lowest possible salary figure, you’re just setting the stage for a disgruntled staffer and/or someone who jumps ship the moment a more lucrative offer comes along. The best salary negotiation is one that leaves both sides smiling when they leave the bargaining table.
  3. It’s a numbers game. This might seem like obvious advice to seasoned negotiators, but always try to make sure you have the other party suggest a figure first when possible. This will avoid, for example, making a $65,000 annual offer to someone who would have been thrilled to receive $50,000. For job postings, consider listing a salary range at most—with the actual concrete figure to be based on skills and experience.
  4. Find the flex points. In a negotiation that’s treading water, try to find common ground by seeing where each side has some flexibility. For example, a potentially important new employee who won’t budge on their desired salary might be willing to forgo insurance benefits (assuming they have other coverage), settle for a week less of vacation time, or agree to added responsibilities and/or higher production goals in order to obtain their targeted salary figure.
  5. Share the wealth potential. For companies on the rise, profit-sharing can be an excellent way to come to an agreement with someone whose salary demands are beyond your current payroll budgeting. By giving up even minor stock options, you can not only overcome the gap in requested salary but make your employees feel valued and a true part of the team. And no one works harder than a staffer who will directly benefit from this company’s success.
  6. Use your ears. The power of good listening is an often overlooked skill, but it’s something a good negotiator always tries to employ. Carefully considering the details and perspectives from the other side of the bargaining table might have a huge impact on the offer you’re willing to make.

Keep in mind, at the bottom line, that a good negotiation should be approached as a cooperative effort and not a competition. An outcome that leaves one side feeling defeated won’t likely lead to the most fruitful working relationship moving forward.

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