Nothing can Eliminate the Sting of a Sudden Job loss or Layoff
However, a good severance package can soften the financial blow and make it easier to get back on your feet. Many employees simply accept the first severance package offered by their soon to be ex-employers after a layoff, but displaced workers can often negotiate a better deal.
It can take some tenacity and good negotiating skills to get a better severance package, but the extra money and extended benefits can make the effort more than worthwhile. Even if you are no longer employed by the company, you may still have more power than you realize.
Be Prepared to Negotiate Your Severance Package
Negotiating a better severance package begins long before the actual layoff. The more prepared you are for this eventuality, the easier it will be to negotiate a more favorable severance package if the worst does happen.
It is not always possible to predict a layoff or job loss, but there are some warning signs you can look out for. The most obvious one is a history of previous layoffs. If the company you work for has already let some employees go, you could very well be next. Your job could also be at risk if your employer has been cutting you out of meetings you used to attend or no longer inviting you to projects you should be a part of.
Being prepared for a layoff may not make the news easier to take, but it can eliminate the emotional shock that often freezes workers into inaction and forces them to accept the first severance package on the table. Keeping your emotions under control can make negotiating with your ex-employer easier and more productive.
Take Your Time; Read Carefully
When workers get news of a layoff, their first instinct may be to sign the paperwork they are presented and leave the office as quickly as possible, but that can be a very bad move. Few people make sound decisions while under emotional stress, and a layoff is definitely a stressful event.
Workers facing layoffs should take time to review the severance package carefully and look for ways to improve it. Knowing what others have been offered can give workers extra room to negotiate. If you know that Bob from accounting got a severance package that included two weeks’ pay for every year of service, you can press for the same deal.
Be especially careful when reviewing documents, you are asked to sign. Your employer might try to trap you in an onerous non-compete clause, and that could make it harder to find a new job. Do not sign any papers until you have time to review them. It might be worth your while to have the papers reviewed by an employment professional before you sign.
Be Specific About What You Want
When it comes time to negotiate, you need to be specific about what you want. If you are looking for a longer severance payout or bigger lump sum, be specific about your demands and what you are willing to accept. As with any negotiation, it pays to start by asking for more than you find acceptable. That gives you more wiggle room and makes it more likely you will get what you want.
Do not hesitate to use the guilt of the employer to your advantage. Many companies, even those facing hard times, feel bad about letting long-time employees go, especially if the worker has a strong track record with the firm.
If you have been a loyal long-term employee, do not be afraid to point to your record and how much you have helped the company over the years. Seen in that light, a higher severance package might seem very fair to your ex-employer. If you play the guilt card right, you might be able to negotiate other perks, like keeping your company issued computer or smartphone or extra job coaching and outplacement services.
Nothing can make job loss easy, but negotiating a better severance package can make it less devastating, at least from a financial perspective. Negotiating a longer payout period, extended health benefits and other perks can lessen the blow to your finances and make it easier to get back on your feet and into a new and better job.
We are here to help make the transition as seamless as possible. Evolution Coaching offers Outplacement Services to assist your employer in offering a fair package to help you land on your feet. If they are unable to offer this, we can assist you one on one with our Resume Writing and Career Transition Services, to place you into a new position as quickly and painlessly as possible. Remember, you don’t have to go at it alone!