Salary negotiations can feel stressful. For many people, the idea of barging into a manager’s office and demanding a raise inspires a wide range of conflicting emotions, from fear to hope and everything in between.
While many workers would like (or need) to take this step to continue feeling valued in their careers, the fact is that only a handful actually do. One of the main reasons so many choose not to ask for a raise is because they don’t know how to start this serious conversation with their leadership respectfully. If this sounds like a situation you’ve been in, stick with us as we review some helpful strategies for negotiating the pay you deserve.
Prove Your Worth
Your boss is not going to give you a raise for no reason. When you walk into that office to negotiate a salary increase, your first and most important job is to prove to your boss that you are worth more to the company, and should be paid as such.
Compile and bring a list of your accomplishments. Take the time before your meeting to gather your successes, evidence of your improvements to the organization, or examples of specifically when you’ve gone above and beyond. Let your manager see clearly what an asset you are to the team and the value that your presence adds. This information, in turn, helps them to more accurately assess the potential damage of losing you on the team.
Maintain a Friendly Atmosphere
It might sound like we are recommending you enter your boss’s office and begin bragging, but that is not the case at all. There is a difference between bragging and clearly demonstrating your worth (and being comfortable acknowledging it yourself). One of them makes it all about you; the other makes it all about the company.
Go in there ready to advocate for yourself, but always remember that you and your manager are on the same team. Adopting a tone that is anything less than that is going to make your boss wonder what sort of a team player you are. Planting this seed of doubt is something you want to avoid.
Do Your Research
In addition to knowing about yourself, you also need to come in armed with information about what you would be worth at other places. How much would someone who does your job and has your record get paid at other companies in your area? In your field?
This knowledge is especially helpful if your research shows that you are being underpaid when compared to others. Now, you can come up with a realistic starting point for your negotiations.
Think about Non-Salary Perks
Many people make the mistake of going into the office and only focusing on their salary. However, there are other ways of getting a raise that go beyond your monthly paycheck – and, in many cases, they are ways that management may be more likely to agree to.
Take stock options, for example. While they will not bring a higher salary into your pocket, there is real potential future value to be considered in stocks and adding to your portfolio, primarily as you draw closer to retirement.
Other perks include items such as paid tuition, flexible hours, or more vacation time. It’s not infrequent that you may find your boss more willing to consider an approach like this rather than the traditional monetary raise you went in requesting. For this reason, it’s essential to consider what perks may wind up on the table and what you may be open to before negotiations officially begin.
Be Prepared To Accept a “No”
If you walk into your boss’s office with a “yes-or-bust” approach, there is a degree of possibility that you are going to leave disappointed (and maybe feeling even less valued than when you walked in). However, that is okay. This one meeting does not have to be the final answer. Often, putting a bug in your boss’s ear is the first step toward a more successful negotiation in the future.
Sometimes your manager might want to give you a raise but is facing circumstances that make it impossible at the moment. Maybe he or she will even tell you that. Leaving that meeting can sometimes be accepting the no at the moment, but understanding the open conversation makes it more likely that your manager will be willing to revisit the discussion later on, once circumstances have changed.
One final word of advice: do NOT issue an ultimatum — unless you are prepared to follow through with it.
Remember, there is more to a successful salary negotiation than just waltzing into an office and demanding money. By following these tips, you will be much more likely to walk out of that office with a win, instead of added frustration from an awkward (or even possibly confrontational) negotiation.