Recent headlines about Megyn Kelly’s move to NBC provide more evidence that offering work flexibility can help companies attract top talent. The former Fox News anchor reportedly passed up a proposed annual salary of $20 million at Fox for a position that would allow her better work-life balance—more time with her husband and three young children.

Although NBC was not able to match Fox’s $20 million offer, the network reportedly designed an on-air schedule that coordinated with Kelly’s other priorities to provide her with a better work-life balance.

NBC’s Clever Negotiating Strategy

According to the New York Times, Andrew Lack, the chairman of NBC’s news division, began negotiations with Kelly in an unconventional manner—by asking her what she was looking for, rather than offering her a choice of pre-fab options. The tactic got Kelly’s attention. Lack then came back with a contract customized to her preferences.

Megyn Kelly’s former position at Fox involved hosting a daily news show called The Kelly File at 9 p.m. eastern time, which didn’t allow her to have dinner with her family in the evenings. Her new job at NBC will include hosting a daytime show Monday through Friday as well as a Sunday night news show, freeing up her mornings and evenings during the week so she can spend more time with family.

The Takeaway

What can other employers learn from NBC’s negotiating success? First, it’s not always about the money. Lack’s winning strategy of beginning with Kelly’s scheduling preferences can be adapted to many candidate-employer negotiations, as well as negotiations with existing employees.

Starting the discussion by asking a candidate what he is looking for shows that the company values his well-being. This tactic can help set the foundation for a supportive and transparent workplace environment where employees feel respected.

Companies may not always be able to cater to employee preferences, but making some accommodations to improve employee work-life balance can boost morale and increase productivity, to boot.

This negotiating strategy could help companies save money on employee compensation and help businesses with less financial draw attract sought-after candidates.

More and more, organizations are seeing work flexibility as a savvy business strategy, rather than a perk.

Employees and job seekers can learn from Kelly’s career move, too; namely, that transparent communication about what kind of schedule works best for you can pay off. Your boss won’t know what she can do to help you work better if you haven’t told her. And the boost in productivity that comes when employees have a better work-life balance makes work flexibility a big win-win.

Readers, what are your experiences negotiating work flexibility for better work-life balance?

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