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3p is proud to partner with the Presidio Graduate School’s Macroeconomics course on a blogging series about “the economics of sustainability.” This post is part of that series. To follow along, please click here.

Negotiation tips to make work more enjoyable while reducing expenses

By: Megan McDonald

The economic downturn wreaked havoc on businesses and employees alike. Decreased revenues have forced organizations to cut costs at every opportunity, often by cutting jobs. The resulting high unemployment rates force job seekers to accept positions for fractions of their previous salaries, while those who were not laid off are likely taking on the responsibilities of two or even three positions. Let’s face it; the current economic climate leaves little room for negotiating higher pay. Employers are in no position to offer inflated salaries, and workers know that there are 50 applicants ready to accept the job for $10,000 less. Whether you find yourself interviewing for a new position, or taking on the additional workload, consider negotiations that maximize your perceived value rather than your salary.

#1: Prioritize

Ask yourself: What is most important to me? What would make my job more enjoyable?

Maybe you’re a yogi looking to reconnect on your mat each day at lunch, or a soccer mom driving the weekly carpool. Maybe the 2 day weekend just isn’t enough and you need to jet at noon on Fridays. Or possibly you value workplace community and want to spend a few hours per week to plan team bonding activities. Whatever the circumstances, it’s safe to bet that most people’s lives don’t fit cleanly into the 9-5 box. Develop a schedule that improves your work-life balance, your productivity and happiness. Before you head into negotiations, prioritize these non-monetary benefits. Which are absolute necessities and which are added bonuses?

#2: Sell the Benefits

Articulating your qualifications is critical, but in order to be a successful negotiator, it is essential to understand the other side of the conversation. Keeping in mind the risks and pressures of the person with whom you negotiate, frame the conversation to highlight the benefits to them.

Financial Benefits

The fiscal advantages of paying with scheduling flexibility rather than dollars are transparent. Such freedoms do not increase expenses. Keeping costs down will improve everything from stock prices to quarterly returns.

Social Benefits

Studies show that workers who are granted more personal flexibility work harder and longer hours than those confined to the office schedule. Creating a work environment tailored to an individual will generate more productive, healthier, and happier workers. Happy workers become loyal employees and decrease turnover. Every manager knows that hiring and training new workers is time consuming and expensive. In fact the web is flooded with “turnover calculators” to help organizations quantify the thousands of dollars lost with each employee. Remind your organization that it is in their best interest to create an environment that develops and retains its employees.

#3: Know when to walk away

Negotiations can become emotional and personal, unless you know your bottom line. If you know what you are willing to give up, or put up with, negotiations become simply a conversation, a give and take. Like a game of poker, there are different strategies for when and how to communicate your bottom line, but it is imperative that you know your limits before you walk in the door.

As you take on the new challenges of working in a depressed economy, flex those negotiation muscles. Leverage your skills and experience to maximize your compensation package, improve your work satisfaction and increase your organization’s bottom line.


Megan McDonald is an MBA candidate at Presidio Graduate School. She is passionate about creating workplaces that empower employees and strengthen communities while respecting and restoring the capital, ecological and emotional value of the natural environment. Whether surfing beach breaks in Dominical, or riding fresh powder lines in Vail, she strives to spend a part of each day enjoying the great outdoors.

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