C-19 negotiations – ENGAGE talking to an employer about your position

Part 4 Negotiating during C-19 – ENGAGE talking to an employer about your position

This is an adapted transcript from a series of videos I created to help people with practical advice to negotiate during the challenging times we’re currently facing due to COVID-19. – The VLOG can be viewed on LinkedIn HERE


If you’re in a position where you have to negotiate but are trying to avoid having a conversation with an employer about what’s the realities of how things are going to play out. Then this blog is for you.

I want to give you some ideas on things you can do to PREPARE for that conversation and then go and ENGAGE in it.

If you work for a big employer, it’s going to be quite different than a conversation with a business owner.

I will focus on the discussion with a business owner. To give you come context from their perspective – a few years ago I was talking to my dad, who is a small business owner and has been for 30 years. And I remember asking him, “what are you in the business of?”, and he said,

  • “I’m in the business of taking care of the livelihoods of 25 families in the Northern Territory”.

That really brought home to me how tough it is to be a business owner with staff.

So, if you are avoiding having a conversation with an employer in the small business, please go and talk to them. They’re probably trying to work through how they can keep as many people as possible. And if you’re in a position to go and talk to them and help them solve the problems, then that will be once less brick on their shoulder that they’re having to carry at the moment.

It’s not always a case of ‘we have to let go five people and we’re choosing which ones’, it might be a case of, ‘how can we make this work with the 30 people that we have right here, based on what we know’, in our preparation is around how, what what’s available to us right now in terms of projects that are going to go ahead or aren’t going to go ahead.

For you it’s the case of doing your preparation, in terms of what’s your financial position and what can you maybe sacrifice, then you can take that as an idea to your employer.


What’s your position, is an important place to start.


If you can get a gauge on all your bills, all of your outgoings for X number of weeks, based on how much you have in savings, and the conversations you’ve been able to have with your accountant and with your bank, and your landlord or whatnot

Then, thinking about what if my salary was reduced by 50%, for three months, if my if it was zero, then what’s that going look like? If you can sacrifice a little for the sake of keeping a job, then you are going to be in a stronger position with this whole thing is over.

As a business owner, myself these days, I now understand how challenging it is to have to think well, who could I cut and it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. It’s just the isolation of making these decisions.

It boils down to that we shouldn’t shy away from having a conversation with an employer.

If you put yourself in a position to step up and say, “hey, I’m open to having a conversation about how I can help”. It just puts you in the place of leaning forward rather than waiting and sitting back and waiting for it to happen to you.

If you’re actually in the conversation, you might be able to influence it in some way. That’s not to say that it will work out positively for you. It’s just about empowering yourself so that things are not happening to you.

Lots of what’s happening at the moment in our world is out of our control. But, you know, we need to be able to hold on to certain things and be part of certain discussions that will make us feel more comfortable and confident that we are actually participating in what’s happening to us, rather than it happening to us.


Knowing your position, then being part of the negotiation process, will give you greater confidence as you are an active participant, and help keep you calm when stepping into a negotiation.


Good luck!


About Sam Trattles – Sam has built a career around negotiation – through marketing, brand, and sponsorship roles over 20 years. She builds capability and confidence in your people by creating strategies that deliver positive business results. Unlocking the value in all your deals. Sam is a straight shooter, she is practical and likes to share her knowledge to help others learn to love negotiating (or to at least, not to hate it). Because it’s worth a great deal.

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