by Joynicole Martinez | Featured Contributor
For every $1 of salary earned by an American man, an American woman is paid .79 cents.
The wage gap still exists. Men and women are not compensated equally for level work and identical positions. Every professional at some time in their career sits at the proverbial table, negotiate wages, and request higher salaries in exchange for work value. Negotiation that effectively increases wages moves the population toward closing the gap. Execute these 5 strategies to put yourself in the best position to win more money.
Strategy #1 – Come armed. While it isn’t a war – a negotiation is a contest of skill that requires arming oneself with information. The winner yields long-term gains by bringing the other contestant to a willing positive commitment. Prepare for your negotiation. Research comparable salaries by industry, position, and geographic region using tools such as Pay Scale, Bureau of Labor Statistics, or Our Jobs Rock. After identifying comparable salaries you want to “up the ante” by leveraging your experience and contribution.
Strategy #2 – Know your significance. Assess the value you’ve added to the company since your last salary negotiation. You want to communicate this in terms of dollars and cents. How have you helped the company grow? Have you leveraged personal and professional networks and connections to add to the customer base? If so, how many customers and what revenues were generated as a result? Review satisfaction surveys submitted on your behalf, underscoring exceptional praise and focus on high visibility clients that applauded your work and special efforts. If your company uses dashboards and metrics – highlight positive results. If you work for a nonprofit agency, indicate the amount of funding you’ve brought to the agency. If pledged dollars you solicited are recurring, calculate the total amount your efforts add to the budget each fiscal year. Create one to five short sentences that clearly communicate how your work has been superlative. Your unique value proposition doesn’t simply tell what you do or have done, it separates you and sets you apart from your colleagues and competitors. Remember this as you determine the minimal amount of pay you’re willing to accept.
Strategy #3 – Set the floor. Request more than you want, so you leave space for negotiating. If you aren’t the least bit uncomfortable with the salary you’re asking for, it’s not high enough. Rather than start low and go high, plan your conversation by reverse engineering your floor beginning with the highest salary you’re the least comfortable asking for. A tip from the sales industry takes advantage of how we perceive numbers. If you’re negotiating and asking for a raise in annual salary, do so in increments of $5,000 to $7,000. When compromising with a counteroffer towards the floor, use increments of $2,000 to $3,500. If it seems you are moving quickly to your minimum, do not give in. Use the next strategy to round out your compensation package.
Strategy #4 – Think beyond the dollar. Benefits enhance your salary, and can be used to deescalate tension during negotiations. Creative compensation packages are total reward systems, and present leverage even when salary raises are non-existent. Examples of total rewards strategies include flex time or telecommuting, on-site child care or a reimbursement system, matching dollars for school loan payments, use of a company vacation or corporate home, wellness programs, or paid professional development. Don’t limit your ‘ask’, carefully negotiated, these benefits can fill gaps not covered by higher wages. In the end, your outcome is still positive.
Strategy #5 – Be quiet. What you offer first will often magnetize the rest of the conversation. Listen to what the employer is saying. Once you’ve received their initial offer and had time to review it – this is when you begin talking. Begin by indicating your enthusiasm about the position and future opportunities, express your concerns about the salary based on your research and experience, then be quiet. Take a lesson from salespeople who are trained to handle periods of awkward silence. You do not need to fill those moments. Do not be tempted to move toward your floor in efforts to continue conversation. Wait for their reply or counteroffer, then speak again.
Strategy #6 – If you must, walk away. If you’ve prepared well, you have the ammunition loaded to pull the trigger and say no. You have research and evidence to move into another position with a company that will value your experience and your skill set. Whether you walk away immediately or take the time to identify the next opportunity, value yourself enough to demand what you are worth. Winning – after all – begins within.
To your success.
Joynicole Martinez is founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Alchemist Agency, a management consulting firm serving leading corporations, health care facilities, non governmental organizations, and not-for-profit corporations.
Dr. Martinez has 20 years of experience providing capacity-building services, including strategic planning, with a focus on performance management, fund development and impact measurement.
As a community advancement and public health expert, Joynicole has developed initiatives that reach across disciplines to strengthen health and wellness. For example, the development of mixed-income, mixed-finance housing communities that address the social determinants of health, equity and human rights.
If you don’t find Joynicole at work – you’ll find her chasing 3 toddlers and newborn twins – which is the most rewarding job she’s ever had. This is considered extensive cross-training for the marathons she runs annually.
Joynicole Martinez is CEO of The Alchemist Agency – a management consulting firm specializing in building capacity of nonprofit and purpose-driven organizations and executives.