July 7, 2022
How to Negotiate a Better Salary

There are many sectors where there is limited opportunity to negotiate your reward package, but there are just as many where you can negotiate a salary increase or other benefit that accurately reflects your individual worth and overall contribution to the value of an organisation. At a time when ‘cost of living increases are taking a heavy toll on household budgets are you looking for a pay rise or an improved condition of employment? If the answer is yes, then this is for you.

How to Negotiate a Better Salary

 

The art of negotiating is about letting others have your way.  Hostage Negotiators have developed the skills to allow even the most extreme expressed disagreements to be resolved. Securing the reward package that reflects your true worth and value is within your grasp.

There are many sectors where there is limited opportunity to negotiate your reward package, but there just as many where you can negotiate a salary increase or other benefit that accurately reflects your individual worth and overall contribution to the value of an organisation. At a time when ‘cost of living’ increases are taking a heavy toll on household budgets are you looking for a pay rise or an improved condition of employment.  If the answer is yes, then this is for you.

Even where there is limited opportunity to negotiate your reward package, such as within the public sector, these skills remain of benefit to you come appraisal time when elements such as pay point progression, access to overtime, responsibility payments may be on the table.

 

There are three words used in the second paragraph, which should remain at the any discussion you have regarding your reward package - Negotiate, Worth and Value.

 

Negotiate:

Where you have an expressed disagreement with your Line Manager or Employer over your salary, benefits etc you must negotiate to arrive at an agreement which is fair and equitable to all.

 

Worth:

You must demonstrate your worth to the Line Manager or Employer. Your worth is what makes you desirable or useful.

 

Value:

You must evidence your value too.  This is your significance or importance and can be a magnitude, quantity or a number.

 

 

Let’s examine the key elements that will add value to your next discussion to secure that better salary.

Choose your moment

The obvious moment is as an element of your organisation’s performance review cycle.  This cycle may coincide with other considerations such salary progression, scale and scope of any Bonus Pool and is the ideal opportunity to discuss overall reward.  If there is no set cycle, then look to identify another suitable one to one opportunity. Whichever it is, it should be in a formal setting and with the specific purpose in mind. Do not ambush your boss.

 

Know your value in the marketplace.

Some organisations have strict rules on discussing salary scales with other employees.  Others do not and salary bands are publicly available. If permitted, discussion with others performing a similar role within your company, in the same sector or in similar enterprises is worthwhile. Executive Head-hunters and recruitment companies are also a good source of information on the market value of comparable roles.  What you are searching for is intelligence which could be used as leverage – is your contribution under valued, could you get more elsewhere?

Know your endgame.

Articulate why an improved salary is important to you and the logic underpinning this. Frame the request relative to you predicted career path and the stage you are currently at in achieving this.  Ensure your request is consistent with a shared understanding of how the company sets salaries.

Develop a business case.

Create a strong business case with evidence of your skills. Reflect on your contribution to key stages in the organisation’s growth or increased profit.  Evidence your performance against the required competencies of your role with a focus on where you may have exceeded them. Remember to show you are important to continued success.  

Present your case.

When presenting your business case highlight the successful tasks you have been involved in. Draw attention to quantifiable data, such as figures and timeframes.  Go over your track record in producing results and other stages of your work history that demonstrate your value.  Be sure to point the decision-maker towards any supporting documentation.

Be ready for negotiation.

Be well prepared to discuss your pay at the negotiating table: make sure you know what you deserve.  Be clear with yourself on what your limits are.  How much scope for flexibility are you going to allow?  What are you willing to accept or not accept?  You have the option to go back with a compromise and other suggestions.  Think about a solution that could fit in well with your strategy.  There may be different elements of your pay package that could be interchangeable or traded-off.  Identify what these are so that you know what your options are.

Remember to listen.

Do not be tempted into speaking or committing yourself to an offer too early. Negotiation is about listening for opportunities to leverage your position.    

Take time when considering the offer.

Each situation is different, and you may need more or less time to consider the offer depending on how close it is to what you want and what the other options may be. Develop tactics to deflect demands and deadlines as this will help you stay in control of the situation.  In the Hostage Negotiation world, we call these tactics ‘bunches of fives’ and will be discussed more in a future blog.

Close the negotiation.

If you get an offer that is not what you wanted you can easily say it's close enough, or it isn't close enough.  Whether you get what you want or not, you need to close the discussion.  When agreement is reached ensure you have confirmed each element and it is understood by those involved.  Make sure to avoid any misunderstandings and where necessary seek clarification but, and this is important, remember to acknowledge to other parties your thanks for agreeing to the negotiation.  

Even if you are ultimately unsuccessful in getting the pay rise on this occasion you are still in the game and will have used the negotiation as a shop window for your skills, strengths and ambition and you are more likely to be considered for that next project, lateral development opportunity or promotion.

Next time I want to look at the tactics that sales people use on you and I and how, once recognised, can be used to our advantage.

Stephen McNeill

Negotiator/Trainer
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