I’ve had to negotiate on behalf of my previous company many times but when it came to negotiating for myself I used to get so nervous.
I remember thinking:
- What if I’m asking for too much?
- What if they laugh in my face?!
- Who am I to ask for this – I should just be grateful for the job.
It’s well known that women negotiate less for what they want in the workplace. This is often due to how society perceives women who ask for more, and many women believe their hard work should speak for itself – but this is not always the case.
As we push for equality, this is one of the areas we need to get better at and companies also need to be more transparent with their pay/ reward packages.
Like any new skill, negotiations can be learned and practised. Here are my top tips for making negotiations easier.
1) Let’s reframe our mindset/ perspective
A negotiation is between two parties – it should be mutually beneficial with you both getting something out of the negotiation – so see it as a problem-solving discussion. In this frame of mind, you are asking for something that will benefit everyone, helping you become more comfortable with seeking and going through with the negotiation.
2) Always prepare
If you are asking for a pay rise, prepare a list of why this would help you and then another list of why it would help the organisation. Remember that it costs companies a lot more to recruit another person than to keep an employee, especially if you are engaged, productive and supportive because you are being rewarded accordingly.
3) Look for the wider benefits
In the negotiation, offer an explanation for what you want that gives a legitimate reason for it. When the reasons are related to higher goals they appear more reasonable. Signal concern for the broader organisation and look from a team-orientated perspective to avoid backlash.
Practice negotiating for others to build your comfort with it. Practice in different situations. If you’re buying large furniture items, often there is scope for some haggling; if you’re renewing your car insurance, seek these as opportunities for practice to gain confidence in it.
5) Look for the BATNA
BATNA means ‘Best Alternative To Negotiated Agreement’.
It’s the course of action you take if a deal is not possible. It gives you a walk-away power. So if you don’t get the pay rise that you want, what is the alternative pay level you would accept? It helps to also figure out the other side’s BATNA, too.
Women do better in negotiation when they know the bargaining range. When we see the upper limits, it’s easier to negotiate. Therefore it helps to research typical salary ranges, and then these can be used in the negotiations.
7) Always be pleasant and friendly in negotiations and don’t threaten
When we see it as something mutually beneficial then you are looking to also support the organisation and have them supporting you. We are looking for a win-win solution, so find ways that maintain or improve the relationship for both.
8) Be creative in what you ask for
Negotiations are not only about money. Often it’s working hours, location of work and added benefits. Look at the whole picture and what each would give to you and your employer.
I hope these practical tips encourage you to get negotiating!
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Priya Mohal is a Careering into Motherhood partner coach: www.careeringintomotherhood.com/priya-mohal
October 23, 2022