Author Archives: Louise Reed

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10 Top Tips for Salary Negotiation

For most people, just the thought of a salary negotiation can be intimidating, and the process can be awkward and uncomfortable if you’re not prepared.

Whether you’ve just received a job offer or you’re up for a promotion at your current employer, you should be considering the importance of salary negotiations and what that means for your future.

According to a study by global staffing firm Robert half, only 39% of candidates tried to negotiate the salary with their last job offer. Of those people who did negotiate, they were able to increase their salary by over 7%.

Now, I know 7% doesn’t really sound like all that much when you think about it without context so why is this significant? Well, first off it is important to note that often raises and promotions are calculated as a percentage of salary, so if you’re starting at a lower salary, you’ll grow slower too. Example: if you were hired at $100K per annum and your colleague managed to negotiate their salary 7% up to $107k, presuming you and your co-worker are treated the same from that moment on it will take you 8 years to be as wealthy as them at retirement.

Moral of the story? Salary negotiation is important and it’s time to learn how; that’s where Nova comes in as we’re here to help to get you prepared for that courageous conversation!

Before the Salary Negotiation:

1. First and Foremost, Speak to Your Recruiter

If you have a job offer on the table and you’ve been speaking to a recruiter throughout the process, speak to them about what you’re looking for in a salary and if you’re wanting more than the offer reflects. Recruiters have developed a relationship built on trust and market expertise with both their candidates and clients, so will be able to give you some insight as well as be a great mediator to negotiate on your behalf, so always go through your recruiter!

2. Know Your Value

If you’re you’re thinking about salary negotiation, first you need to know the value of your skills in the current market. You need to know what the benchmark looks like for your position in your specific industry in your specific geographic location, because all of this can make a difference to what a salary might look like! Confidence is key in these conversations, and without being fully prepped and knowledgeable, you’ll never have the confidence that you need to have this conversation with the outcome you’re hoping for.

Here are some questions to consider as you begin your market research:

• What is the national average salary for the position?
• How much do similar companies in your area pay employees in this position?

Some of the best ways to look into this salary information is to look on search sites like Glassdoor, look at recent positions posted in the Cayman compass (or whatever your local job posting site/newspaper is) and by speaking to other individuals in your field (ideally both men & women to avoid any gender pay gap that may exist).

Another easy way to gain insight into the current market is to speak to recruiters like our team here at Nova! Recruiters have a really good insight into the market and know what people with your experience and expertise are worth, so use it to your advantage! We work on positions with clients all across Cayman and have a great insight into what the going value for skills is currently and what competitive benefits packages look like for someone with your experience and expertise. Some recruiters even pull together salary surveys on an annual basis and may have this data publicly available to see.

3. Prepare a Highlight Reel of Your Contributions to the Company

Our next piece of advice is to pull together a brag sheet, or a one-page summary that highlights all of the things you do as an employee that makes you amazing. Have some key achievements ready to mention alongside that market research that you found – this will help to back up your findings on a more personalized level and tailor it to how you add continued value to the company.

List any accomplishments, awards, and customer or even co-worker testimonials that you’ve received since your last review. You want to demonstrate your value to your boss or whoever it is you’re meeting with about this negotiation. You don’t necessarily need to give them this brag-sheet, but by pulling this together, you will have consciously thought about it and feel more prepared and confident when negotiating.

4. Practice Makes Perfect

Practice, practice, practice! We can’t stress how important this is, because if you are nervous about negotiating salary (which most people are!), the only way to feel more confident is to feel prepared and that happens through practice! Write down what you want to say, and practice to a mirror, on video, or with a friend until you’re comfortable having the conversation and know your major points by heart.

5. Set the Meeting for a Thursday

Studies show that you’re more likely to get a raise if you ask on Thursday. Why you may ask? Well, psychology of course!

We tend to be a little less flexible and agreeable at the beginning of the week, probably because we’re wishing it was still the weekend and that we were watching Netflix. As the week goes on, we become more flexible and accommodating, we stray away from choosing a Friday as often they can be a little hectic trying to wrap up work for the weekend, so Thursday is the perfect choice!

Note – If you’ve received a job offer and want to see the salary a little higher, don’t make your potential new employer wait a whole week to hear this because you’re waiting for a Thursday. Use your best judgement on when to mention this to them as they will be impatiently awaiting your decision, so don’t put them off!

The Main Event:

6. Treat it as a Collaboration, Not a Fight.

Never approach a salary negotiation as an ultimatum — an either/or — but rather as a collaborative process and a unique opportunity to create a compensation package that makes sense for both you and for them.

7. Demonstrate Your Value

Before you start talking salary you need to talk about what value you have added to the company and more importantly, what value you can continue to add in the future! Remember that highlight reel? Now’s your chance to walk through your accomplishments with your manager or your potential new boss to really show your worth – the key here is to have proof that you’re indispensable to your organisation.

8. Say an Exact Figure!

You should never use the word “between” when negotiating. When it comes to salary, that means don’t give a range like “I’m looking for between $60K and $65K.” If you say this, it makes you seem as though you’re happy with any number on that scale so why would the person you’re negotiating with not immediately jump to the smallest number?

By saying a precise number, you are more likely to get a final offer closer to what you are hoping for. Why? We’re glad you asked! Psychology shows this is because you will seem to have done more extensive research into your market value to reach that specific number (which you should have if you read #2 on this list).

9. Don’t Get Too Personal

While it might feel logical to explain your personal financial situation as your reasoning for needing to earn more money, this can also ruin your salary negotiation. Remember you’re negotiating for a better salary, but they are still a business and so they will be much more engaged when you focus on your performance and achievements and make it business-related.

10. Think Beyond Dollars and Cents

What if your boss (or the hiring manager) really won’t budge on salary? Try negotiating for flex time, more vacation time or other benefits that would be competitive for you.

Other possible benefits:

  • Child and Eldercare benefits
  • Higher pension contributions
  • Life and disability insurance
  • Professional development programs
  • Tuition reimbursement

Putting All Of This Into Practice

So, you’re probably thinking this is all great – but how do you actually say all this in reality? What are the words you actually should say in a salary negotiation? Read below for a possible example!


“Thank you for sending over the job offer package for the Senior HR Manager position. I am excited about the opportunity and would like to reiterate how grateful I am you’ve considered me for this role. I believe in your firm and know I could help you drive even greater results in employee engagement, recruitment campaigns and develop policies and procedures to further refine the firm.

However, before I accept your offer, I want to address the proposed salary. As I shared during the interview process, I have more than twelve years of experience in HR, including eight years of experience at the leadership and management levels. In my role at my current employer, I have reduced time-to-fill on recruitment efforts by 50%, increased offer acceptance rates by 23% and implemented a regional benefits strategy for the firm that has been regarded as ground-breaking in this industry here in Cayman.

Given my experience and expertise, I am seeking a salary of $125,575. However, I am open to discussing alternative compensation, such as opportunities for additional stock options, increased performance-based bonuses or a guaranteed salary review after a short probationary period.”

If you’re interested in learning more about salary negotiation please check out our upcoming trainings tab as we host training on how to navigate these difficult conversations on a near-monthly basis. If you are looking for the current market value of salaries feel free to check out our most recent salary guide made in partnership with Nova Recruitment. 


Louise Reed is the Co-Founder & Board Member at Connect by Nova, as well as the Managing Partner at CML Offshore Recruitment, one of the primary partners of Connect by Nova. If you are currently located in the Cayman Islands and are looking for a career move, Louise and her team at CML Offshore Recruitment are here to help.

We hope that this post has been a helpful insight into planning for career progression. If you are looking for more tailored advice about progression or new career opportunities, feel free to email and speak to a member of the career team about training and bespoke services offered to help you #AchieveCareerSuccess.

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Who is Responsible for Your Career Progression: You or Your Employer?

Career progression is something that can often be overlooked, misunderstood and just plain forgotten. Some business owners may feel that staff career progression and personal development is ‘not their responsibility’  and should fall to the individual looking to develop further. Are they wrong? Who is responsible, and what should they be doing?   

What is Career Progression?   

Before we dive right into who the responsibility goes to, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page of what exactly career progression means. Career progression is the process of climbing the corporate ladder during your working life. Many aspects contribute to successful career progression, moving forward, receiving a promotion, and finding new challenges.  

Is Career Progression just finding a better job?    

Let’s be clear; career progression is not simply finding a new, better job but also defining your progression when staying with your current employer, position or role while receiving greater responsibility, satisfaction, and success. It can also be about receiving a pay rise, being given additional responsibilities, moving sideways in a company, or being promoted.  

Who is responsible for Your Career Progression?  

Returning to the initial question of ‘who’s responsibility is your Career Progression?’, it is often unclear who is responsible, the manager or the employee. One of the most common reasons employees leave companies is a lack of career development but is that the company’s fault alone, or does some of this fall on the employee themselves?  

Ultimately, career progression is a discussion between both parties  

It’s no secret that companies that invest in career progression gain the best out of their employees. Managers who engage in high-value career conversations are rewarded with long-term employees who are engaged, productive, and ready to move up the corporate ladder.   

While managers, in some cases, need to step up and be equally responsible, it is also up to you to express your career development goals to your manager. If your company has an open-door policy, then it is there for a reason. Use it, engage with management and start the conversation.  

Managers also need to be aware of how to handle the conversation. If the company offers career progression, senior management must be aware of any training and progression opportunities for their line staff and mentor the individual with their career progression questions.    

Understanding Company Differences  

It’s also essential to think about the differences between companies and what they can offer, as this will vary due to many reasons, but with a key one being the company size and what they can provide as a result.   

Larger firms  

Larger firms with an HR team may plan training and development for different employee levels with opportunities available on a rotational basis, or for more senior staff, initiatives in career coaching, mentor programs or leadership training.   

Smaller firms  

In smaller firms where there is less line of sight to progression paths, often the emphasis is placed back on the employee to ask for training and support towards their development, but that doesn’t always have to be the case. With smaller firms, companies can do things to offer progression, such as simply being open to new ideas: maybe your staff have a brilliant idea for a new business offering that they could take the wheel on.  

What Can Managers do to Support Employees in their Career Progression goals?  

Take a personal interest 

Communicate frequently with your team with regular meetings, but also reach out on a one-to-one basis so you can keep informed of their career goals and expectations. With this level of support, employees will feel valued, leading to higher productivity and loyalty to you and the Company long-term.  

Promote training and development within the company  

It’s all about opportunities, and one of the main reasons an employee may have joined the company is due to the culture promoted at their interview regarding training and development. Continuing education fuels the employee’s career growth. Stay attuned to the broader company’s opportunities and encourage your team to be invested in courses, guest speakers, and networking events within the industry. An example of a cost-effective career or personal development program within the workplace is arranging lunch-and-learn sessions with internal or external guest speakers.  

Encourage mentoring, job shadowing & rotation 

Many companies adopt mentoring for new employees during the onboarding process, but companies would be wise to expand on this for their employee’s personal and professional development. Long-term staff offer professional guidance, while they can also benefit from the newer employee who may have fresh perspectives and insights into new technologies, a win-win situation. Or shake it up a little by offering job rotation, allowing employees to work in different but related departments. Team members will gain new skills and show more appreciation for their colleague’s positions and even a better understanding of the business.  

Establish a career succession plan  

Creating a career succession plan for every key position promotes a powerful message. It can help motivate employees to learn new skills and knowledge required for their career progression towards the top of the ladder.  

Keep in mind that employee career development can deliver ROI for your business, avoiding the possibility of losing disillusioned employees to competitors in the industry. Companies that offer career advancement to their employees cultivate a culture within their workforce, producing well prepared, responsible and productive employees as they move up the corporate ladder.  

What Can You do to Accelerate Your Career Progression?   


A large part of career progression is finding the opportunities you can, being visible and connecting through professional networks. Networking receptions, seminars, conferences, trades shows and networking internally in a larger office are ideal ways to be seen and considered.  

Mentoring and Coaching  

Seek out a mentor you look up to in your career; they can help you navigate the professional world based on their lived experiences in a similar field. With a mentor, expect advice and guidance on aspects of your career, like interview training, industry insights and managerial challenges. On the other hand, coaching can be more formal with a structure where your coach will set the standards, timings, and expectations. Both can be a considerable advantage to career progression and creating an action plan forward.  

Training and Development  

Training and development can cover a whole host of activities towards career progression. Training courses and upskilling in new areas of expertise are valuable ways to improve your development in different areas within your role, industry, or business. Most commonly, training is offered as a course. Still, as mentioned earlier, this could be hands-on training by shadowing a colleague that has experience and knowledge in an area of the business you are interested in progressing to. Study the profiles of successful people in your industry. How did they reach their career goals, which path did they follow, what professional associations are they members of?  

Simply Ask   

In some instances, it is as simple as asking what progression opportunities exist. By asking about your career progression, you show your employer that you are keen to improve, develop and climb the ladder. A company with career progression in its culture will only further encourage your development and progression. Set aside time to plan your career aspirations and how to reach goals and milestones. Ask your manager for one-to-one support to help with your progress.  

Reach for the top of the ladder  

Employees can be more engaged when they know their employer is concerned about their growth and career progression. Career development paths may also directly impact employee satisfaction, morale, motivation, and productivity.    

Company culture is an important aspect to look at before moving to a new company; if career progression is essential, you must investigate the culture before committing. Your employer should be offering advice, support, and encouragement to set you on your way to the top of that ladder.  


Louise Reed is the Co-Founder & Board Member at Connect by Nova, as well as the Managing Partner at CML Offshore Recruitment, one of the primary partners of Connect by Nova. If you are currently located in the Cayman Islands and are looking for a career move, Louise and her team at CML Offshore Recruitment are here to help.

We hope that this post has been a helpful insight into planning for career progression. If you are looking for more tailored advice about progression or new career opportunities, feel free to email and speak to a member of the career team about training and bespoke services offered to help you #AchieveCareerSuccess.




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Internal Communication & Maintaining Positive Employer Brand During COVID-19

How important is internal communication for organizations in the overall strategy and response to COVID-19? We’d argue that for your employer brand, it’s make-or-break.

We know from history that in difficult times, strong yet empathetic leadership is crucial, and arguably the most critical factor to navigating seas of change. In these times of uncertainty, it is your role as a leader to make people-centric decisions today that won’t hinder your businesses post-pandemic, or damage your employer brand.

The Employer Brand

First, let’s start with what exactly an employer brand is: Simply put, an employer brand is how you’re viewed as an employer. It is the impression you leave on former, current, and future employees. A positive employer brand is critical, especially in today’s increasingly competitive job market.

Not investing in your employer brand can be costly and be seen affecting things like cost-per-hire, your HR budget, and overall bottom line. In challenging times, your culture and employer brand are vulnerable, and how you handle internal communication during the pandemic and how you engage with your staff could pay dividends in the future or be a pain-point for years to come.

Hardships, while uncomfortable, often reveal character, and this is as true for organizations as it is for individuals. What can you put in place for your organization to ensure your employer brand weathers this storm and comes out relatively unscathed on the other side?

Leadership and Internal Communication

Don’t underestimate the power of your voice. Leaders provide a figurehead for the organization, inspiring employees to focus and succeed despite the obstacles and should be where communication to your employees comes from in these difficult times. Leaders that embody the values of the business and empathize with their employees will be better equipped to survive the disruption and maintain a positive employer brand post-pandemic.

Be Visible

Leadership in organizations need to be widely visible and accessible. With the added hurdle of many companies now remote working, visibility is easier said than done, but not impossible.

Digital communication can still work wonders, and there are lots of options:
• Connect with staff through scheduled team meetings
• Set up anonymous surveys for staff to air their concerns & ask questions
• Share video Q&As from your CEO and Senior Management

Emails should be a last resort, as everyone knows how they can be misinterpreted and often lack authenticity and emotional resonance (even when you add in the cream-of-the-crop memes). If you can’t be there in person, be everywhere digitally.

Communicate Consistently

In a world where what was advisable a week ago likely isn’t today, having a constant in a sea of change is critical; Be that constant in your employees’ lives. It doesn’t have to be daily or even weekly, but it does need to be proactive, consistent, and considerate to meet the bespoke needs of your organization’s employees.

Here at Nova, we have a daily team meeting, even if it only runs for 5 minutes to ensure there is an open platform for the staff to speak about anything – as we have a team of only six people, this is manageable for us. For a larger organization, consider having a weekly update of relevant policy changes, good news, and answers to any questions staff may have had throughout the week.

Listen, Listen, Listen

As the saying goes: Communication is a two-way street. To fully take a people-centric approach to internal communication, you need to know what exactly your people want to know and what they need from you.

Not sure how to make this work? Consider an anonymous survey and address frequently asked questions that can be sent around to the staff regularly in reaction to surveys. WorkTango recently released some suggestions of questions to use when compiling these surveys that are really helpful.

Employee engagement surveys are a norm for Nova, but now they are taking on a whole new level of meaning. By utilizing anonymous surveys, senior management has their finger on the pulse of the company and can address the issues that matter to our people the most.

The Power of Authenticity

Authenticity and honesty are what your employees are looking for in times like these. Where possible, explain the reasoning behind decisions that the company is making (especially the uncomfortable ones) and the ‘why’ behind those decisions.

“How are your actions today going to benefit your organization, people, and culture in the long term?” Answer that question, and you will inherently win the trust and respect of your people. Show empathy for your employees and make them a priority; after all, you need them to drive your organization forward today and tomorrow.

The Key Takeaway?

Internal communication is one of the main drivers of employee engagement in normal circumstances; In the current era of COVID-19, internal communications may fuel your organization’s reputation as an employer for the months and years to come. How do you want to be remembered, and are you prepared?

How did your company respond during coronavirus pandemic meme


Louise Reed is the Co-Founder & Board Member at Connect by Nova, as well as the Managing Partner at CML Offshore Recruitment, one of the primary partners of Connect by Nova. If you are currently located in the Cayman Islands and are looking for a career move, Louise and her team at CML Offshore Recruitment are here to help.

We hope that this post has been a helpful insight into planning for career progression. If you are looking for more tailored advice about progression or new career opportunities, feel free to email and speak to a member of the career team about training and bespoke services offered to help you #AchieveCareerSuccess.