How do you negotiate your pay when starting a new job or asking for a promotion at your current role? These are questions I’ve had to think about at the start of and during this pandemic. Negotiating, in general, is not an easy ordeal. Add in a pandemic, where many of us are working from home, and it becomes that much more complicated. I did some research by reading articles on reputable sites like CNBC, Forbes, themuse and I asked my girlfriends who have experience with this. Here is a cheat sheet for negotiating a salary during a pandemic.
Don’t lead with fear - Know your value
One of the biggest hurdles are usually in our minds, the narrative we keep repeating to ourselves. A study done by Linda Babcock for her book Women Don’t Ask revealed that while 57% of men negotiate their first salary, only about 7% of women even attempted to negotiate! To add, of those who negotiated, they were able to increase their salary by over 7%. Make sure to know what the market currently pays for your type of position in your industry, company size, and location. Having this knowledge will give you confidence and hopefully, mitigate some of the fear you’re feeling. I read this interesting line that resonated with me: “a negotiation doesn’t actually start until someone says ‘no’” so don’t fear the “No”!
A recent survey done by Robert Half staffing agency showed that 86% of senior managers are just as likely or more likely to negotiate salary with new hires today than they were a year ago. Think about it. If you’re a hard worker and good at what you do in the office or from your home, your manager most likely doesn’t want to replace you or find someone new to onboard again.
Provide a range.
CEO and founder of the hiring platform Knac suggests providing a range at least 10%-20% more than what your current base salary already is. A range offers your employer flexibility, while also making you come off as a reasonable employee, one that is not set in his/her ways. I have read in other articles that providing a range suggests you’re willing to concede and the person you’re negotiating with will immediately jump to the smaller number. I don’t necessarily agree with this. I look at my salary as part of the package. If the manager automatically jumps to the smaller number of my provided range, then, I will want to make up for that in benefits like higher # of vacation days, commuter benefits, annual bonus, performance-based bonus, whatever is appropriate.
Schedule a second and third conversation, especially during a pandemic.
Since we’re working from home, having this conversation over a Zoom call and remotely isn’t ideal.
Make sure you’re clear on the purpose of why you’re scheduling the call or conversation so that your manager does not get caught off guard.
Have multiple conversations! Negotiations are a back and forth and not one and done. Have an initial conversation and plant the seed with your manager/person in charge of your reviews. Let them know you’re thinking about your own performance and that you’re thinking about your pay. This sets the tone and the stage for the conversations that will follow.
Additionally, during these conversations, reference your strengths and the things that you have brought to the table since starting in your role. Hopefully, you have kept a nice list of your achievements, wins, strengths, projects since starting in this role. Has there been an improvement in output by a certain %? Concrete examples prove your value and make it harder for your team to see your request as frivolous.
Prioritize your requests!
I thought this one was pretty interesting. Lay what you’re looking for in rank order. The reason being, as explained by Wharton professor Adam Grant on Business Insider, “In a job offer negotiation, for example, you might say that salary is most important to you, followed by location, and then vacation time and signing bonus. Research shows that rank-ordering is a powerful way to help your counterparts understand your interests without giving away too much information. You can then ask them to share their priorities, and look for opportunities for mutually beneficial tradeoffs: both sides win on the issues that are most important to them.”
If the hiring manager flinches or reacts negatively to the number or range you are requesting, ask more questions like “Seems like that took you by surprise, can you tell me more?” Or “ What is the budget for this role?” Or “How can I make myself move in that direction?” Make sure your expectations are aligned with your manager’s expectations.
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