You can get your boss to offer you a golden parachute if you plan ahead and use your noggin a little. First let’s agree on our terms.
What is a golden parachute?
Basically, this is a one-time payment your company makes to you upon your separation from service. In other words, they pay you a boat load of money if you retire, die, quit or get fired if you do something for them. That “something” is to stay on for a certain number of years or even agree to take on a new position.
In other words, a golden parachute is the payoff you get when you agree to putting on a pair of golden handcuffs. You agree to do something your employer wants from you in exchange for a big payoff if you live up to your side of the bargain. You may not be the CEO of a large multi-national firm but that doesn’t mean this payday is beyond your reach. We’ve got some work to do. Let’s get started on building that pot of gold. Where to start your negotiation strategies?
The first all-important step is to become invaluable to your employer. And it’s no different from asking for a raise in many ways. When I say invaluable, I am not kidding or understating it. You must become invaluable and almost irreplaceable if you want to extort…I mean…..explain why it’s in your boss’” best interests” to incentivize you to stay on board.
How do you become invaluable to your employer? This is simple. Just ask her to have a cup of coffee with you and find out what she thinks the business needs. Find out what is lacking and what it would mean to the company if somebody (you) could solve that problem. What are the greatest problems facing the company? What needs to happen to really help the bottom line profitability of the company?
Do you know how many people ask their employer questions like these? None. That’s why when you bring these questions up your boss she is going to sit up and take notice. She’ll think she’s died and gone to corporate heaven.
Find out what your firm needs and then deliver it. Don’t be intimidated. If you need resources to get the job done, just ask for them. You’d be surprised by what your company will do to solve problems. Do this a few times and just watch what happens. You will be regarded as a true hero – move over Hercules. In an age of marginal C+ workers, it doesn’t take much to be exceptional.
Plan Ahead and Cash Out
While you are busy solving problems at work, let other companies know how effective you’ve been. You are not necessarily going to quit your job. You are just introducing competition. You must do this if you want to convince your boss to provide the golden handcuffs you are looking for.
Get the word out without being too aggressive. Let headhunters know about you and what you’ve done for your current employer. If that isn’t realistic, call competitors and have a friendly conversation. Get an idea as to how much other firms might be willing to pay for your services.
Of course just being excellent at what you do is often reward enough but it never hurts to add a few Pesos to your saddle bag. After you’ve established yourself as Mr. or Mrs. Problem Solver, your boss will start coming to you with problems she’ll want you to fix.
Now is the time to leverage all your hard work. Explain that you are excited about the prospect of fixing this additional problem the company is facing. But suggest to your boss that you’ve been approached by other employers or that you were considering retirement. Tell her you’d prefer to stay on but you need some kind of incentive to do so. Suggest that the company provide you with a severance package if you stay on for some reasonable period of time. This isn’t a post about negotiations but remember to never be the first one to throw out a number. Stand firm and allow your employer to make the first offer. This is critical if you want to maximize the benefit package.
The last important step is to get this offer in writing. I’ll never forget my buddy Marcel who was told by his employer that he’d get a severance package of $1 million if stayed on for 3 years. Marcel had no reason to doubt the owner’s sincerity. He’d worked for the boss for over 30 years and the employer had always lived up to his word. The only problem was that the owner died before Marcel’s 3 years were up.
When the employer’s children took over, they didn’t even know about the agreement Marcel had with their father. There goes $1 million. Oh well….easy come easy go….right?
Get your agreement in writing and make sure you don’t cheap out. Spend a few hundred and have a qualified attorney draft the letter.
Do you think this strategy would be effective at your job? Why or why not? Have you ever received a golden parachute? How did you negotiate the arrangement? What would you do differently this time?