Negotiating a flexible work proposal and what to do when you want to renegotiate

Negotiating a flexible work proposal

This blog post is written in two parts – a case study story with one of my clients, Lisa and the journey that she’s been on to negotiate flexibility in her role once she returned from maternity leave; followed by my 8 tips on negotiation (and renegotiation). 

Negotiating a flexible role is one of the most reasons that women get in touch with me, or they want support about re-negotiating a flexible work request that’s been knocked back. 

Like one of my clients, Lisa, a project manager at an Asset Management firm, who sought my advice and support after her Compressed Work Week proposal was not accepted – something which she did not expect as her firm has a culture of flexible working. 

If you can visualise a winding path with lots of unexpected twists and turns, then this is what Lisa’s negotiation with her company has been like.

You can watch this video recording which I did with Lisa here, or continue to read the article with excerpts from the video and my tried and tested successful negotiation tips. 

Lisa explains: “My company has a great maternity leave policy and flexible working practices so I was quite surprised when my request to do a Compressed work week – working flexibly with 5 days in 4 and continuing my role full time – was not accepted. 

“And so what I did was go back to work full time and take one day of annual leave to show that I could do a compressed week and that it wouldn’t affect my performance. However I didn’t want to continue to take all of my annual leave as this would leave me with no holidays to have with my family.

“Within about 6 weeks of being back, I saw Olivia’s Negotiation Masterclass – it couldn’t have come at a better time and I got some great advice about how to build a business case and re-negotiate with my employer – something I wasn’t even sure that I would be able to do”, she adds.

Building a strong business case is a crucial part of the Negotiation proces

Following this Masterclass, Lisa and I worked together on a stronger business case, overcoming the key concern that her firm continued to raise – and that I hear a lot, which is:

“We don’t want to ‘set a precedent’ and have every employee asking to do a Compressed Work Week.”

You can often re-negotiate if your request isn’t accepted

As I write this blog post (Feb 2020), Lisa is still in negotiations with her firm, however she feels that she now has the tools and resources to effectively have these discussions, including re-negotiating her hours with a strong business case. 

“I have been able to structure my argument, I feel so much more confident going into these discussions and I feel supported and Olivia will help guide me through the negotiation process with my employer, whatever the outcome will be.”

Lisa also feels that having completed my Compressed Work Week program, she’s been able to work more effectively, efficiently and is generally a happier Mum and employee. 

I’m so pleased mine and Lisa’s paths crossed as I truly and genuinely want to help her to get the outcome that she wants – to do a Compressed Work Week so that she can have a day a week with her son, Sebastian and continue to succeed at her job that she loves. 

Tips on negotiating (and re-negotiating):

Learning and practicing your negotiation skills is a very important skill to have, particularly as you progress through your career and life – like buying a house, or negotiating your pay and benefits. 

The following tips have successfully helped my clients who work in large corporate organisations through to small businesses, including re-negotiating refused requests.

The tips are an excerpt from both my Negotiation Masterclass and my six week Compressed Work Week program, where the first lesson is on negotiation.

  1. Negotiating anything in life, whether you’re buying a house, a car or a pay rise is a crucial skill to develop – make sure that you are always prepared for this conversation by thinking through, ‘what does the other party want, what do I want and how can we meet in the middle’?
  2. It’s really important to consider the other person’s or party’s perspective – try to think about ‘being in their shoes’.
  3. Rehearse and practice delivering your key messages, including considering what objections or concerns the other party might raise and how you’d overcome or address them.
  4. Ensure that you have prepared a business case to deliver both verbally and in writing – this is a key part of the negotiation process.
  5. Don’t expect the negotiation process to be straightforward – sometimes it is and other times it isn’t. The message here is don’t be disheartened if your negotiation doesn’t go to plan, you may be able to re-negotiate.
  6. Be clear, concise and confident in your negotiation. Don’t be afraid to clearly state what you would like – you should be able to summarise it in 1-2 sentences. 

Further support

I frequently hold Negotiation Masterclasses, so please get in touch to find out upcoming dates, or if you’d like to work with me one on one to build your business case for flexible work, book in a time to chat with me. 

If you are interested in my Compressed Work Week program, this takes place quarterly with the next cohort starting in mid-March, again, head here.

Coming soon! 

Online Mini Course: Successfully Prepare your Compressed Work Week Proposal and Negotiate it.

In this mini course you will learn: 

  • The steps that you need to take to Negotiate a Compressed Week. 
  • Understand how to build your business case 
  • Get access to my template Proposal letter which has successfully worked for many of my clients – taking the guesswork out of what to include in your proposal
  • What the most common objections which your employer may ask you and how to overcome them with clear key messages the most common one I hear from my clients,”we don’t want to set a precedent”  
  • Get access to my rehearsal technique videos – so that you walk into your negotiation discussion with confidence
  • Downloadable workbook, guides, checklists and more!

Simply fill out my enquiry form and I’ll get in touch with you asap!

Olivia x