Negotiating your worth: it is more than just a salary increase.
Jennifer Cox is a seasoned industry expert with over 2 decades of experience as a woman in tech. She’s also a wentor [mentor] in our community who has participated in every mentorship cohort since 2021.
She’s a gold-badged wentor!
In this session with Jennifer, she talks about negotiation. We decided to adapt her session into writing highlighting key points she made during her impact session with our community members.
As an employee working for a company for a period of time, whether it’s been 3 months or 10 years, when asking for an increase it is important to note that it should be more than just a salary increase. In fact, there are several factors to consider and look into before you make that bold step to negotiate for your worth, it should be more than just an increase in the figures.
WHAT ARE YOU WORTH?
Knowing your worth should be your first step. You have to ask yourself the hard question, “what am I worth?”
Answering this question will include understanding your goals, your principles, as well as knowing where you draw the line in.
After this, you make the step to know your worth in the market. This means that you have to find what what value is placed on your role in the market.
Often, market standards do not coincide with what organizations offer, this is where there’s always that moment where you have “that conversation” with HR or the management of the company.
After you have fully understood this, you would come into the knowledge of how to negotiate better in a way that is highly deserving of your worth, it also makes you choose wisely on your next big step, whether you are to leave or not.
Not everyone knows this or understand what it all entails, and such people stand at a disadvantage.
This information is not only useful to employees but also to those seeking for jobs, before coming into an interview it’s best you have familiarize yourself with this knowledge as it helps you negotiate better which avoids you from settling for less.
NEGOTIATING IS FUN
Negotiating is fun?
I know that’s the question on your mind at the moment, you are ready to come at me with a thousand and one reasons why negotiating isn’t fun and shouldn’t be in any way considered fun.
Well, if it’s not fun then it’s also not war as many of you take it to be. Before entering into that room for that interview with your mind fixed on negotiating for an increase, you ought to plan ahead.
Think critically, go in with your ultimate wish list of everything that you want. In other words, I’m saying that you make a list that comprises of the things you want that isn’t presently given to you in that role.
Don’t just go in there with just a list of demands, you must also go in there with the list of things that reasonably validates your demands.
When making the list, here are some factors to help you:
- You aim higher: in other words, when demanding for an increase you don’t just go for what everyone else doing your role is getting, you aim higher. If everyone else is getting a raise of 5, demand for a raise of 10.
- Plan ahead and know why you deserve what you are negotiating for. Make a list of the attributes demanded for your role and then make a list of the attributes that you have and then compare it.
- Make a note of the additional things that you have done for the team that has given them a boost as well as put the company in a good light. Let them see it and then you negotiate with that. This way you have given them valid reasons on why they should consider your offer and give you an increase as per your worth.
NB: When you demand for a 10, you’ll likely not get exactly as you demand for, but then you’ll not be at the same level you were.
WHAT DO YOU WANT? Money? Fame?
What you want at the back of your mind upon entering that room determines how you drive the negotiation.
To some it’s MONEY, they are ready to sacrifice being with family, or having time for themselves or whatsoever just for a salary increase. They just aspire to get to the peak and get as much money as possible.
Some others value FAME. They care for their reputation, the quest to just be the “go-to” person. They go into the interview to let everyone in that room know that they are the most knowledgeable, the most skilled, the one everyone goes to, the one who knows it all.
There are other things that drive people when they negotiate. Some people value learning, personal development, reputation, etc. Determine what drives you and walk into the room with that on your mind.
PITCH DON’T DEMAND
When negotiating its best you make use of softer words. So you don’t just go in there stating demands like “I want this and that, it’s what I deserve and so on” it’s called a negotiation for one reason, it’s not a strict-demand meeting.
So, learn to make use of softer words.
When pitching you plan out not only what you deserve but also why you deserve what you want.
In order for you to successfully accomplish this, you have to first of all understand your role versus your role:
1. Here is the role I was employed to do.
2. Here is the role I do.
3. Here is what I have achieved.
You arrange them in that format and can also make use of infographics or Powerpoints to state such facts.
Create your value proposition based on that, Pitch and then Negotiate.
WHAT ARE YOU SCARED OF?
Before going into that negotiation, identify your fears, be it fears of being turned down or being laughed out for your negotiations, identify them!
It’s not the end of the world if you are turned down, so it’s okay to be turned down, but after being turned down ensure you request for a validation on why you are being turned down, have them explain it to you in clear terms and after these negotiations, if it is the end of discussion make sure you walk out of that room with a complete to do list.
So, in better words, as they state the reasons why you can’t be awarded that which you have demanded for, you write a to do list of things you need to work on when performing your role and then get ready for the next time.
But if the reasons are not valid enough ensure you are not cheating yourself by settling for less. If their reasons are not reasonable enough and you can’t keep on with what you are being offered already for the role, it’s either they rebrand you (promote you) which would technically involve an increase or you reduce the value you give to them so it would match what you are being offered by the company, that way you would avoid settling for less and cheating yourself.
You can also find a point of compromise for both you and your organization. And if they don’t still agree to all of this, you leave and find elsewhere where you would be valued.
MOTIVATION VS THREAT
This is often from the employer's perspective.
After you have negotiated with them and you have been declined, request that another meeting be scheduled so you can think about all that have been deliberated on, that way they also are being opportune to deliberate on what you have requested for and it after the second meeting you are still being declined then it’s high time you go through another approach which is the help me approach.
In this approach, you request of them to help you stay in their company. In short you are telling them I love working here, I love my team, I love the company but I’m fighting to find a reasonable reason why someone of your value should still remain here where you get less of what you deserve while there are better opportunities outside.
So, you are threatening them to stop saying no and give you something beneficial else you leave.
Just a recap:
- Respect yourself.
- Know your value, know what it means.
- Know your value in the market and get it even if it means you leaving your current company.
Learn how to celebrate.
Be it a big win or a small win, celebrate it because it is worth it.
Celebrating even the little wins help you keep track of your growth, achievements and success over time. It energized you for the next step.
So, celebrate your win, your achievements, your accomplishments.