Negotiation Skills: Conversations about money are often quite uncomfortable for many people, especially when dealing with your managers in the workplace. However, if you want to earn more money, it’s important to take charge of your career and initiate the salary increase conversation.
Wondering how best to start the discussions? Here’s a rundown of the most important skills you can develop to increase your chances of success when negotiating for a pay rise.
Quantify your value
Experts in negotiation skills training say that people are more willing to give more if the perceived value of what they are getting in return outweighs the premium. So, to negotiate from a strong position, it helps to clearly quantify how much value you bring to the company.
The aim is to highlight yourself as an integral part of the business whose contributions are invaluable. Some examples of value points to focus on include:
- your qualifications and any recent upskilling courses
- your track record at the company
- your achievements and contributions to the company
Remember to quantify your achievements in measurable terms. For instance, “I was responsible for cutting supply costs by 20%.” By clearly laying out what you bring to the table, you show the company what they stand to lose if you decide to jump ship, making your case for a pay rise more convincing.
In addition, talk about how the pay rise would increase your productivity and further improve your performance on the job.
Research and prepare
It’s important to have realistic expectations before you start the negotiations. Take time to dig deeper into the salary ranges and benchmarks for your industry. Look for salary guides prepared by local recruitment companies and websites such as Glassdoor or Payscale. Having all the salary information at your disposal gives you a starting point but it’s also important to consider some of the following:
- Is there much demand for your job or field of work? If there is a lot of demand for the particular skills you are trained for, you will have higher leverage to present yourself as more valuable during the talks.
- Is the company performing well? Are they making any profits? The better the company performs, the higher your chances of getting a raise.
- How is the industry expected to perform in the future? Look for annual reports from different companies within your industry to get a picture of analysts’ forecasts. If the industry is booming, it strengthens your case for a pay rise.
Once you’ve done your research, actively apply for roles and actually interview for positions with other companies so that you can gain more leverage.
Schedule the meeting in advance
The timing makes a big difference in salary negotiations. If you catch your boss at the wrong time, they are likely to feel like you’ve put them on the spot, which could throw off the negotiations before you even begin.
Avoid catching your manager off guard or trying to ask for a raise during a busy time. Instead, ask for a meeting and present an agenda for what you will cover during the discussion. A scheduled meeting makes the process formal and allows the manager to prepare, plus it shows seriousness and commitment.
It’s also important to choose a time when your performance at work is at its best, for example, when you’ve been named employee of the month for three months in a row. Also, choose a period when your boss isn’t under an enormous amount of pressure, such as during off-peak seasons.
Be confident and remain professional
Regardless of how you feel, train yourself to maintain an air of professionalism and confidence.
Present your case succinctly and rationally, and avoid becoming overly excited or emotional. Remain calm and collected so you don’t appear desperate, pushy, or arrogant.
Salary negotiations are often uncomfortable, and nerves can cause you to start rambling, derailing you from focusing on your presentation. So to boost your confidence in your communication skills, practice presenting your pitch to someone you trust (or try it in front of a mirror).
Even if your manager doesn’t budge on increasing your pay, keep your composure; you can still use the opportunity to ask for non-monetary benefits such as flexible working time or performance bonuses.
Send a follow-up email
Regardless of the manager’s decision, write an email to thank them for affording you the chance to talk to them and summarise what you agreed upon. The email creates a record of the events and helps increase the manager’s accountability.
Even if the outcome of the discussion is unsuccessful, keep your wording gracious and sincere.
Finally, remember to try again sometime in the future. In the meantime, upgrade your skills and training and put in your best performance to increase your chances of securing a higher salary.