What’s the best way to negotiate a salary increase? For some people talking about money makes them very uncomfortable. Even more so when it comes to asking for more of it at a performance review or when accepting a new job offer. The reality of a salary negotiation is you are asking for the fair market value of the work you do. And nobody should feel awkward or uncomfortable in this situation.
Here are some salary negotiation tactics to help guide you through the process:
1. Research your market value
This is a crucial first step in your negotiation process. Take time to research what you are worth. Start by gathering as much information as you can to get a sense of what others in the industry are being paid for doing jobs similar to yours. From there you can estimate the market value for your job in your organization. Then it’s time to evaluate your own skill set, achievements, experience and education to determine where your own rating should lie. Having this information is key. It will inform your salary expectations and provide you with a solid argument for higher compensation.
2. It’s not a battle
It’s easy to think a salary negotiation is a battle between you and your boss. Approaching the meeting with this mindset will hinder your progress. You will be more nervous and signal this body language in the meeting if you think like that. Instead, think of the negotiation as an opportunity for an honest discussion. Be friendly and convey positive body language throughout. Smile, sit comfortably, use good eye contact and use your hands to express your feelings where necessary. Stay calm throughout and you are more likely to achieve a successful outcome. The aim is to ignite an open and honest conversation.
3. Show your worth
Use the negotiation meeting to highlight your achievements and accomplishments to date. This is the time to sell yourself. Demonstrate to your employer your value and bring any documents with you to back up your claim. Prepare a succinct one to two-page report summarizing what you consider to be your main accomplishments in the job and discuss how these benefited the organization. The aim here is to communicate your skills and value to the company.
4. Take your time
Don’t feel as if you need to accept an offer in the negotiation meeting. Be appreciative to your boss for taking the time to meet with you and explain that you need time to evaluate his offer. Set a date that you will get back to him. You are not obliged to accept an offer in the meeting and sometimes employees feel pressurised to do so. Often the best course of action is to take your time and think about the details in a stress-free environment.
5. Alternative to salary
Often in salary negotiations, the conversation will turn to other forms of compensation. Perhaps the pay budget has been maxed out for the year or your manager is limited in what they can offer you. Whatever the reason, you may have to consider other forms of compensation. These may be worth a lot in terms of saving you money, improving your work/life balance or providing you with benefits you couldn’t ordinarily afford. Have some suggestions for alternatives to a salary increase ready to discuss. These might be:
- Extra annual leave days
- Flexible working hours/remote working opportunities
- Healthcare/dental care
- Covering the cost of education or a training course
Think about the other ways non-monetary factors could improve your lifestyle. These may be even more beneficial than the salary increase. And by discussing them you are showing your willingness to compromise and your eagerness to stay working in the organisation.