Money can be an awkward subject, particularly when it’s linked to job performance, but it doesn’t have to be a taboo subject. If you’re ready to take your career to the next level, negotiating a salary increase is a good place to start.
Many people have mixed feelings about asking for a pay rise. Negotiation courses will help, but even if you haven’t had any formal negotiation training, you can still walk into that meeting with confidence.
Whether your tendency is to stride in and start talking or to nervously beat around the bush, here are four creative ways to negotiate a pay rise without burning bridges.
Link Your Request to the Company’s Position
Negotiation Experts will teach you to look beyond your own wants. Think about the company’s current commercial challenges. What obstacles are they facing? How could you use your skills to ease the burden? Don’t just look at struggles, but talk to your boss about goals. Do they have plans for growth in which you could get involved?
“Invoke the communal,” says Nega Bagaria, founder and CEO of JobsForHer. She aims this advice at women, as research shows women tend to have more success in salary negotiations if they draw attention to how their work benefits the company as a whole.
If you want your employer to go above and beyond with rewarding you with a higher salary package, show them you’re willing to do what it takes to help the company thrive. Don’t forget, their success is linked to yours.
Research a Little
If you go into the meeting without a plan, it’s going to show. Anticipate the obvious questions. Why do you think you deserve a pay rise? It’ll help if you’ve kept track of tangible accomplishments and can show concrete results. How much are we talking about? Have you researched the current salaries of similar jobs or talked to others in your field? If you walk through that door before you have solid answers ready, even the most in-depth negotiation training will deliver limited results.
As for the wage itself, be specific, down to the hundreds. It shows that you’ve done your homework, and that you haven’t plucked a number from thin air.
Keep Emotions in Check
A heart-on-sleeve approach is never a good idea. Letting your emotions rule the conversation means you’ll find it harder to ask questions and to understand your employer’s position. Thinking about how you can benefit the company — which helps you deserve the pay rise — will be more difficult if you let frustration take over.
Remaining professional is key. Don’t bring up other employees’ performance or work ethic, and try to keep personal circumstances out of it. Focus on your value, and on facts: how your skills and track record are to your employer’s advantage.
If your temperament leans toward showing every emotion, why not take a negotiation course for some coaching and practice?
Be Ok With “No”
Negotiation classes often start with the uncomfortable reality of how to face down the word “no”. Why is this? People are either conflict-averse and don’t want others to lower their opinion of them, or they’re competitive and want to win at any cost. Neither of these approaches will get you very far.
The word “no” can actually be an important negotiation tactic. Letting bosses know that you’re ok with a negative answer will help them be open to what you have to say. Even inviting them to say no shows that you’re rational, flexible, and understanding of their position. Hearing out “no” responses can pave the way for compromise or even a win-win collaboration.
Even if you’ve participated in a bunch of negotiating training courses, nothing can substitute for real experience. You still might not walk out of that room with the number you wanted, but you’ll know more about your company, your employers and yourself, and you can hold your head high knowing you did your best.