Changing your job? Make sure the grass is really greener

FEBRUARY 9, 2016

“It is still early in the new year and most people have had the chance to reflect on the areas they'd like to change in 2016,” says Kim Lombard, member of the South African Reward Association (SARA) and Director at Synntech People Solutions.

“It is a time when people think about changing jobs or their reward reality in order to make the year a resounding success.” But shifting personal and professional goalposts needs to be done with finesse.

Lombard recommends taking the move one step at a time to ensure there is a clear understanding of the current reward reality so that any negotiations are done from an informed position and in line with the market.

“Reward is not exclusively about the money, while this is important it is sometimes the intangible that makes a career choice a happy one,” she says.

-- Deciding on a move --
“Get a statement of full financial earnings and include all items such as salary, company contributions to retirement, medical aid and more,” she says.

“Also include any potential incentive earnings and speak with the human resources specialist to gain a clear picture of the full financial investment the company is making. Once done, do the same for the non-financial aspects which are non-negotiable to you, such as a collaborative boss or a job rotation programme or healthy food access. Uncover what is of value personally within the company and what it would cost to lose it.”

Once all these aspects have been assessed they provide a rich outline of the total reward offering from an organisation. This can then be held up alongside the reasons for wanting to leave to determine if this is the right decision or not.

-- Assessing the market --
The next step is to navigate the opportunities in the external market and there are a number of key aspects to this. The first is to understand the external market and your personal market value.

Different companies, by their very nature, value and employ specific skills and it is vital to do the research and match skills in accordance with an organisation’s offerings and value proposition.

“Personal market value is not a thumb suck,” warns Lombard.

“It can be determined by looking at what jobs are on offer and it is strengthened by awareness that these values are rarely straightforward. A company may pay high guaranteed packages, but have no incentives so if there are incentives at the current company the package may be worse off.”

The second aspect to consider is a synergy between company and personal values. A culture fit is a more reliable determinant of success and happiness than the package on offer. And, of course, there is the need to negotiate a package in a way that shows a clear understanding of the current reward package along with value and market worth.

“Know which areas are non-negotiable and show an understanding of personal worth through discussions. Come across as someone who is well prepared and researched,” concludes Lombard.

“Ask for a Total Reward Offer statement that shows all aspects on offer across financial and non-financial or create one if the company does not have one. Finally, examine the incentives as they are a critical aspect of any environment. Be clear on the value derived from these programmes and how embedded they are in the company.”

Ensuring clarity across all these elements will play a critical role in making an informed decision. Remember that any relationship is give and take and all discussions should be constructive as this will only stand you in good stead for the future.