During many of my coaching conversations we discuss people’s frustrations about salary. So I have captured in this checklist my top tips for negotiating with confidence. If you follow these tips you could achieve the same outcome as one of my clients who increased their base salary by $16,000.
People often steer away from salary negotiation because it makes them uncomfortable, nervous, even sick in the stomach. This happens because:
- They fear what people will think of them if they negotiate.
- They do not know how to negotiate for a salary increase or better conditions.
- They do not know what they really should be paid
This checklist will help you:
- Make a positive impression through the salary negotiation process.
- Have clarity of the steps you need to take to negotiate.
- Understand what the market says you should be paid.
1. Think “what’s in it for the organisation?”
To achieve what you want in a negotiation you need to be clear on what you want, but you also need to know what’s important to the other party. Consider how the change in your salary will help the organisation achieve their goals.
2. Approach the conversation as win/win
Be assertive and confident. Be sure to listen to their perspective and expect in return for them to listen to yours. Avoid being aggressive by steering away from the use of ultimatums, threats, or bluffs.
3. Be clear on your objectives
Know specifically what you want by clarifying before the negotiation your primary objective. This might be a 5% increase or a move to part time. Then consider what might be a back-up objective that will move you closer to your primary objective. This might be a 3% increase or a move to flexible hours.
4. Collaborate to achieve
Jointly brainstorm with your manager to find ways to satisfy everyone’s interests. Create a list of possible solutions then decide between them.
5. Access salary data
Use salary data to gain an objective view of what you should be paid. Use a salary survey where you can access information collected for employers in the same industry
6. Get the timing right
Organisations have rolling and future focused financial plans. Where possible enter a conversation about salary at a time when your Manager has the ability to adjust the budget accordingly.
7. Provide the full picture
In a salary negotiation, you can’t just use the salary data. Before sharing the data, you need to share with your manager how your skills, experience, competencies, and knowledge support the organisation and contribute to the achievement of the company’s goals.
8. Present the data assertively
When you open the conversation talk confidently and focus on the positive message. For example, you could say “based on the data in this survey, it seems that people delivering the same type of work to me have a more attractive compensation package”. Avoid phrases that come across aggressive like “The data in this survey shows you’re underpaying me by $15,000 annually so if you don’t give me a salary increase, I will find a job elsewhere that pays me more.”
9. Know the numbers
When you are planning for negotiation on salary, be sure to know your total compensation, how it is calculated and how it compares to the compensation package you’re asking for. Include bonuses, superannuation, paid leave, profit sharing, etc. Your employer will be focused on the total package not just the base salary amount.
10. Plan and prepare
Take time to prepare for the negotiation discussion using the steps I’ve outlined above. This also means letting your Manager know that you would like to have this conversation. Don’t start the conversation with them unexpectedly. Book the conversation in advance with them. Prepare through role playing the conversation with someone who can provide you a safe place to practice and give you feedback. Now that you know how to negotiate for a change in salary, the only way to improve your ability and confidence to negotiate is to learn from experience. And to keep improving, following the negotiation take some time to reflect. Think about what you did well and what you will change next time, to make it better.