Employment contract negotiation is challenging for any profession, but for physicians, there are additional considerations. Both parties have their own interests to protect and want to have a positive outcome. Knowing what you need vs. what you want can help when you start to negotiate. Be prepared to sacrifice some of your items in the want category to achieve what you need to be happy as an employee.
Here are 4 top mistakes to avoid when negotiating contracts.
Without a relationship with the healthcare organization that you plan on joining, you have no trust. You will be discussing important subjects during your negotiations and will need to understand why they are asking for certain provisions. Establishing a relationship and understanding their values will be an advantage at the negotiating table. You will be more likely to get more of what you want when they understand your needs too.
When going into an employment contract negotiation, be prepared. Study what the employment contract should have in it; what clauses should be there. Know what those contracts typically look like and should say. Talk to a healthcare attorney ahead of time to understand what you should be asking for. Understand the hospital or healthcare organization’s position so you can better understand the negotiation and have answers to their questions and concerns. Practice your arguments for why you want terms in your contract, so you know how to answer their questions.
There is power in being calm during a negotiation. Rather than arguing on price, offer additional benefits and services into the deal. Show that you are firm on what you want, and don’t be afraid to walk away if it’s not right for you. Be respectful but don’t show vulnerability.
Negotiations can take time, and you should use the time to your advantage. It’s best to go through any agreements together in detail with your attorney and other specialists so that you fully understand them. This is also a great time to try to renegotiate terms while going through the contract. If you rush through the agreement, you might miss an important term or phrasing of a clause that will cause this opportunity to go wrong.
Avoiding mistakes will help you get more out of the deal. Neither side will get everything they want, but your goal is to have a respectful contract negotiation that ends with successful employment.
To understand what is in a physician employment contract, please review our What to Watch out for in Physician Employment Contracts.