How to Handle a Blitz: 4 Key Strategies for Successfully Negotiating During a Company Transition

It happens. We rock and roll along in our career and then – wham! A blitz. The company announces a major organizational change. It could be a merger, acquisition, downsizing, rightsizing or some other sort of organizational change. As a result, the company requests you assume new, additional or high-risk responsibilities, or, potentially, work for a different company.

When a blitz occurs, employees stand stunned, and don’t always recognize or value their level of influence relative to compensation. Even when employers call a blitz, employees retain power and the ability to negotiate.

Next time a company hurtles a blitz, follow these 4 critical strategies for successfully negotiating any compensation.[wcm_restrict]

1. Resume control

When discussing the change and your new responsibilities, any good boss worth his/her salt will promote the change. After all, the company needs you during this transition. Why? Because the transition – no matter what type of transition it is – is about business. Business needs to continue uninterrupted.

Employees often forget their importance, focusing more on the change itself. No one likes to feel out-of-control. But feeling out-of-control weakens a negotiating position. So the first step is to assume control.

Think about the impending change. What needs to happen? How does your role impact that change? What do you do on a daily basis that must occur for a smooth transition? Remind yourself that what you do matters. The company wants you to stay focused and keep your head in the game.

Point 1: Your role in ensuring a smooth transition is valuable and critical.

2. Determine whether you actually want the new responsibilities

With your confidence levels rising, evaluate the new role. Do you actually want it? Remember: you have options. You can accept the role ‘as is’, offer a counterproposal, or decline. Think about your career trajectory. Does the new role fit that trajectory in terms of responsibilities, scope, subject matter, leadership opportunities, exposure or any other number of criteria? If not, do the new responsibilities actually enhance your original plans? Is the role something you actually want?

During a change, your responses transcend “yes” or “no”. You can accept the offer ‘as is’, no questions asked. Or, you can circle back with a list of questions, perhaps requesting the role be modified. If you choose to decline the role, you don’t necessarily need to leave tomorrow. Because ensuring a smooth transition trumps terminating your employment, you can negotiate a compensation package related to short-term employment, until the change is finalized.

Point 2: You have options.

3. Define what you want and what you need to move forward

First, consider all the parameters that make the situation successful for you. Then compare that to the proposal on the table. Where are the gaps? Prepare to discuss those gaps with your boss.

Second, evaluate the compensation being offered. If no new compensation was offered, then your current package IS the offer. If the scope of the role and responsibilities remains unchanged, it may seem like a new package is out of the question. Not true! If the company is undergoing a major change, even though the role isn’t changing, something else IS changing. Does your current package – or a proposed package – meet your expectations for the new environment?

Third – list all the possible rewards you could negotiate: base salary (increases now and in the future), retention bonuses, transition bonuses, retention grants (equity awards), vacation, relocation package, etc. The options truly are endless. Don’t limit yourself to focusing just on salary.

Point 3: Articulate all of your desired compensation

4. Develop an approach for discussing your objectives

Before discussing your conclusion, practice. Practice discussing what you want and what you need. Remember to:

  1. Thank your boss for exhausting considerable energy on this transition and for investing personally in your career growth and development
  2. Affirm your belief in the company and the direction the company is headed
  3. Articulate the substantial thought you devoted to analyzing the offer
  4. Explain your decision
  5. Enlist your boss’ help receiving a comprehensive compensation package that rewards you for your contributions and recognizes the inherent risk involved ensuring a smooth transition.

Point 4: Compensation is always negotiable.

Change is strange but it’s also an opportunity for career growth and personal rewards.[/wcm_restrict][wcm_nonmember]

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About the Author

Stacey HawleyStacey Hawley founded Credo, a compensation and talent management firm, in 2011. A recognized speaker, writer, and expert in compensation and talent management, Stacey is author of Rise to the Top: How Woman Leverage Their Professional Persona to Earn More and Rise to the Top and is a frequent contributor to Forbes,, LearnVest, Working Mother, and The Glass Hammer. Her expertise has been cited in publications and resources such as Money magazine, MSN Careers, CareerBuilder, the Chicago Tribune, and LinkedIn.