A New Paradigm for Employers to Negotiate Compensation Packages that Retain Top Talent

Who is in the proverbial driver’s seat in today’s world of salary negotiations? Experts can’t seem to agree on who holds the balance of power in the wake of COVID. Everyone was talking about the Great Resignation and the new leverage this gave employees negotiating compensation packages. Then, as quickly as we settled into that purported new reality, talk of a major recession had employers tightening their belts. Some thought that gave clout back to employers, while others thought it made it tougher to attract and retain top talent.  

What if, instead of approaching these negotiations as a power dynamic where one party holds power over the other, you approached it as a collaborative process, seeking to find maximum power together? This collaborative versus competitive approach lies at the heart of The Art of Feminine Negotiation™. When you seek to understand and meet the needs of your employees, ironically, you’ll get more of what you want.  

The world has changed. Employers who want to thrive (and not just survive) need to look at new ways of doing things. Think of the Great Resignation as the Great Reset – a golden opportunity.  

Get curious about what employees want and need. Invite open dialogue and allow the space for meaningful input. Be open to accept honest, hard-hitting feedback about the corporate culture and where the organization may be falling down. Welcome constructive feedback about what’s missing. Reward it. 

Employees are seeking greater flexibility these days (in terms of hours of work, working from home, range of duties, etc.) They want wellness initiatives in the workplace and greater work-life harmony. 

Progressive employers recognize the need to create an inclusive culture, where everyone sees themselves as a valuable part of the larger mission. They encourage a team approach. Employees are increasingly driven by a desire for purpose. Having employees operate in individual silos (both in terms of duties and information) undermines feelings of belonging and accordingly sabotages long-term loyalty. 

By contrast, creating a purpose-driven approach to the work of the organization builds a beautiful symbiosis that advantages both the employer and its employees. Smart employers build an eco-system that is finely tuned to move toward the highest good for the organization and the individuals who make up the workforce. Be clear about the organization’s mission. Inspire a sense of purpose for all positions and be clear how each person and position fits in the big picture. In that way, employees will have a sense of being part of the bigger vision (which creates incentive and motivation). 

The key, as an employer, is setting employees up for success. Ensure clarity of expectations and corresponding rewards. When it comes to negotiating compensation, have clarity around the process. This should not be a guessing game where employees are shooting at targets while blindfolded, or where the targets are constantly moving. Lack of clarity creates frustration, feelings of lack of appreciation, and/or feelings of ‘not enoughness’ – none of which foster peak performance. Employees should know what targets are expected so they can strive to meet them, knowing there will be appropriate rewards at the end of the rainbow. 

Creating transparency, accountability, and authenticity in the negotiation process should be the goal. Too often employers insist on secrecy around salary negotiations and encourage scarcity mindsets. While the rationale (trying to drive compensation packages down) is understandable, this approach is a mistake in the long run.

Rather than hiding compensation ranges and creating mistrust, competition, and resentment (as between employees and employer and as between employees), having transparent disparity in wages can work to everyone’s benefit. If higher compensation rewards are explained and employees see the possibility to shoot for more and can see the path to get there, motivation and incentive are increased (and productivity along with it). 

Explain the full range of compensation options available. Most people focus on salary in negotiations. There is a world of possibility beyond simple salary. Consider titles, training opportunities (internal and external), profit-sharing, vacation, travel, allowances, and more. 

Think outside the box. Find out what’s important to your employees. There may be valuable win-win options beyond straight salary. There may be greater rewards by lifting the shroud around salary discussions and opening up the negotiation process.  


Are you looking to up level your negotiation skills?

Please enjoy my TEDx Ocala talk
- Rise of the Feminine Voice as the Key to Our Future-  

rise of the feminine voice cindy watson tedx ocala

Click to play

How to Get What You Want from the Boardroom to the Bedroom

Negotiation skills are a woman’s secret weapon.

Art of Feminine Negotiation debunks myths and multi-generational gender conditioning that have stopped women from fully stepping into their power. Uncover the unconscious biases that have limited women from becoming the biggest and best versions of themselves. 


Learn the key skillsets that mark superior negotiators, explore how women already possess these skills in spades, and master how to start invoking these essential skills with intention in everyday life.


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