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Please check out this fantastic article by LinkedIn as part of their new Get Ahead by LinkedIn News Job Search & Careers editorials from Helen Harris with our president, Matt Warzel, as a contributor – How To Negotiate a Severance Package
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Think of Your Severance Package as Job Insurance
“A severance package is often part of the bargaining chip up front for people who are trying to get what they can up front and be protected in their job,” said Matt Warzel, CPRW, CIR, career coach and resume writer. “Just like negotiating higher pay, benefits, and PTO — negotiating your severance package is just something you can do at the beginning in case things ever get rocky at the company or you are a victim of a divestiture.”
While you can ask for severance at any point during your employment, Warzel suggests it may be best to have the severance package conversation and negotiation, when you first start your position.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) is also in line with Warzel’s advice, stating that negotiating your severance package at the beginning of employment is most effective, as that is when the employer wants you on board the most and you have leeway to make requests.
Continuing the many comparisons that can be made for a severance package, Wayne Outten, founding partner and chair of Outten and Golden LLP, states in the WSJ that it is “a little bit like a prenuptial agreement.”
“It’s not very romantic, but you want one just in case things don’t work out.”
Now that we know that it’s not taboo to ask for a severance package, what exactly should you ask for in a severance package — and are all severance packages more or less the same?
Consider Asking for Outplacement Support in Your Severance Package
Warzel snowballs off Penny’s advice, saying that as part of outplacement support, you need to do your research and know how long, on average, it would take you to find a comparable role and salary. From there, you will be able to negotiate with the facts and ask for a reasonable severance package.
“If it’s going to take three months to find your next lateral role, you need to do the research in terms of why you are worth the amount you’re going for in your severance package, should you become the victim of a layoff,” said Warzel.
Ultimately, when you go to your employer to negotiate your severance, Warzel stresses that you should be ready to advocate your worth and value to the company and have your personal “brag book” ready. After all, you aren’t asking for severance because you want to leave — but because you value your role and want to protect it and your future well-being.
“Severance isn’t a word that makes employers think the worst if you bring it up,” said Warzel. “But be prepared with the facts, be honest and treat it like any other negotiable part of the job process.”