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How To Negotiate The Best Possible Employment Exit

Posted: Friday, 4 January 2019 @ 13:43

One of the things I have to do is often help employees negotiate satisfactory exits from their employment.

What are the key dynamics which enable some people to get better deals than others? What are the variables which give me as a lawyer an indictator that they will do better than others?

Here are some thoughts....

1 The Employee Needs To Take As Much Control As Possible Of The Negotiation. When I assist a client I never lose sight of the fact that it is a team operation with the client and myself. And if both members of the team are strong then you are more likely to have a better result. Some lawyers like to portray themselves as masters of negotiation and great results are entirely down to them. However, that viewpoint is largely for the birds..... 

2 Objectives Are Key. When you are in a negotiation one of the questions is what are you are trying to achieve. Once you know that you start thinking about how you going to get it.

3 Look for Precedent. One of the first questions I ask an employee if they are in difficulties in an organisation/looking at leaving is precedent and the past actions of the employer. E.g Have other employees left? Do you know on what terms they left? Has the organisation been to Tribunal? What was the outcome? Tell me about the person with the chequebook...What is their attitude to making payments to staff...Does that person have a personal view on you? These questions can influence strategy profoundly.

4 Depersonalise The Work Problem. A client of mine is more likely to be stronger if they are not obsessed about the work position (e.g not defined by it) and have life balance. I have seen clients in really stressful situations but achieve great things due to balance and a desire to get through the problem. E.g going to church, doing exercise, having strong social base. 

5 Law Is Important But Less So In Early Stages of Negotiation - Of course whether you have a legal case is important in analysis but for the employee, it is just one variable which will influence what they will recover. Other elements include the culture of the organisation, your desire to get more money, the financial position of the firm. The strength of the case and the evidence becomes more important as the trial gets closer.