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Negotiating Your Employment Agreement (Part II)

As a continuation to our article on “Negotiating Your Employment Agreement,” the following areas should be discussed with your prospective employer (when appropriate):
1. Career Planning
2. Potential Job Ladders and Opportunities for Future Advancement
3. Job Postings
4. Employee Development Programs
5. Clear Definition of Job, Roles and Responsibilities and Reporting Relationships-Notice Periods
6. Probationary Periods and Performance Review Philosophy
7. Severance Arrangements and Outplacement Assistance
8. Other Special Privileges and Programs

Career Planning:
Each new job opportunity presents a chance to evaluate the job for its future potential. Therefore, when evaluating the company determine if:
They have a Training Department that provides in-house training for future career advancement.
They define for you or your future recruits, career paths within your respective area.
They define promotional opportunities and succession planning as part of the evaluation process.

Potential Job Ladders and Opportunities for Future Advancement:
Certain Companies provide a very precise summary of job ladders or levels of advancement contingent upon tenure, job performance and demonstrated ability in the job. Generally, such preciseness is more prevalent in entry-level positions of gaming or hotel service. Ask if such descriptions exist so that you can understand the likelihood of your next level or promotion.
Job Posting:
Many Companies promote from within by advertising openings within other areas or divisions. This internal job posting mechanism supports the philosophy of career planning and providing opportunities to the internal dedicated employees. Remember to inquire if they have a job-posting program. Inquire on how the job posting process works, for example:
-Are all jobs including executive positions posted?
-Is there a policy regarding applying for a position which is available for your review? From that policy you can determine if it covers the following, since these questions at the time of negotiating your employment may not appear to be appropriate:
How frequently are positions posted?
Is there a general rule regarding years on the job prior to posting for an open position?
Will the remuneration or job level of the posted position be public?
Will all positions regardless of location be posted?
Will the response or inquiry be confidential until you are perceived to be an eligible candidate?

Employee Development Programs:
Development Programs demonstrate that a Company is interested in promoting from within and interested in enhancing the present level of performance or competency of its staff. Such Companies proudly display the training and development programs that they offer or sponsor. So ask about their education and development program and determine if such programs tie to future career paths. Determine where and when such programs are offered and if you in your new position will be eligible to participate.
Do not forget to ask if they have an Education or Reimbursement program for higher education such as College degrees or technical training.
Clear Definition of Job, Roles and Responsibilities and Reporting Relationships-Notice Periods:
Before accepting a new job make sure that there is a clear definition of what is expected of you. For example make sure you know:
Is there a well written job description that you could review?
Is there a probationary period?
To whom do you report (on occasion there are multiple managers, so ensure who is accountable)?
Who reports to you and how accountable are you for them?
What is the scope of your authority including expense/budget limits, recruitment or disciplinary approaches?

Probationary Periods and Performance Review Philosophy:
When starting a new position, there may be a probationary evaluation; determine if there is and what is expected of you during this timeframe, to ensure that you get started on the right footing. In addition ask and determine the following:
When is your next review date?
When will objectives be set and will they change throughout the year?
When and against what will you be evaluated?
Who will evaluate you, including your manager (will there be input from others)?

Severance Arrangements and Outplacement Assistance:
Some Companies have formal arrangements for severance. Although it is not a subject that you may care to discuss openly, consider if they have a program in the event of a merger, acquisition or downsizing. If they don’t have such a program consider negotiating a notice period, that will require you and the Company to give, in the event of a planned termination or a mutually agreed upon separation without cause.
Other Special Privileges and Programs:
Lastly, some Companies provide ancillary benefits or perquisites such as the following, of which you should be aware:
- Flexible hours
- Club Memberships
- Company Sponsored Programs (Team Sports, Company Trips/Picnics, etc.)
- Service Awards
- Credit Unions
- Personal Loans and Mortgage Programs
- Employee Assistance Programs
- Legal Aid
- Complimentary Privileges

Much of the above may be described in benefits brochures or Company Handbooks, so make sure that is included in your package when considering the position.
Hopefully the above has given you some topics to consider when assessing your new job opportunity. Overall, remember that some points may be important, but are not necessarily an employment offer STOPPER but a CONSIDERATION.