What are some of the top strategies for maximizing your severance pay if you are handling the negotiation on your own? This question was the recent subject of an article in Business Week entitled “Severance: How to Part on the Best Terms.”
The first tip offered in the article is “don’t take it personally.” In other words, approach the severance negotiation as a business transaction, and don’t let your emotions get in the way. The next tip is to “speak to someone who’s on your side,” such as a mentor or supervisor who thinks highly of you. The last tip is to “determine exactly what you want” with respect to the money you are looking for and other employer concessions, such as reducing the scope of a non-compete clause.
This “kinder, gentler” approach can be effective for certain employees, such as high level executives, who are negotiating severance packages without the assistance of an attorney. I would advise these individuals to negotiate as good a deal as they can on their own, and then bring in a reputable severance package attorney at the end to review the agreement and suggest possible further enhancements. Employees who don’t feel comfortable negotiating on their own should do some research about severance package negotiations and engage a professional to negotiate on their behalf. You should have an attorney review any document in which you are giving up legal rights, such as a severance agreement.