While we have made some progress to level the playing field between men and women in the workplace, women, especially women of color, are still vastly behind when it comes to negotiation power.
Whether you’re looking at negotiation bias against women (research suggests that both men AND women are less willing to work with women that negotiate a higher salary) or the study that showed MBA program men are 8x more likely to negotiate their pay than women, the evidence is clear–as women we struggle to ask for what we deserve.
And guess what? It’s not our fault. There are societal forces at work that we likely don’t even recognize.
Linda Babcock of Harvard Business School and author of Women Don‘t Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide, shares in this article that women are “socialized from an early age not to promote their own interests and to focus instead on the needs of others.” As women, we were unfortunately born to take on a supporting role. Whether conscious of it or not, women are typically raised with the unspoken pressure to support our fathers, mothers, siblings, friends, and bosses as our primary role. Speaking up for what we want and what we deserve isn’t on the inferred list of priorities.
Make negotiation feel like a conversation.
As I said before, we have to understand we need to communicate differently as men. When in conversation with someone, try to avoid stating your perspective as fact, and instead, ask questions to involve the person in the dialogue.
“I understand you want to do [A], while at the same time I see these possible challenges and issues. This is why I believe we should do this because it will help [B]. What are your thoughts?”
- “I understand you want to do [A]” shows that you are listening to them
- Saying “while at the same time I see these possible challenges and issues” provides evidence why their solution may not work
- Stating, “This is why I believe we should do this because it will help [B]” thoughtfully proposes doing it a certain way
- Asking, “What are your thoughts?” shows you want to involve them in the conversation and process as opposed to stating a command like “We need to do this…”
This tactic makes the negotiated outcomes feel like a win win for everyone involved while still positioning yourself as a leader willing to take initiative.
When you’re negotiating for something, whether professional or even personal, take time to prepare.
Brainstorm what the challenges are from the other person’s perspective, and prepare your statement with evidence, then involve them in the conversation.
So are you ready for the real advice on how to negotiate your salary?
Salary negotiations can be so anxiety-inducing even for the most dedicated of professionals. Here’s my step by step process to make sure you feel confident and prepared to fight for what you deserve.
In your next annual review have the following ready:
- Get your original job description handy
- Create a “brag list: a list of things you’ve done since you started your job that are beyond your job description. Share percentages and numbers of how you’ve exceeded goals and expectations
- If you notice you’re doing a job beyond your title, research on salary.com and glassdoor.com similar job responsibilities around your area
- Print out your evidence
- Your original job description
- Brag list of things you’ve done (don’t title it brag list, just title it “Job Responsibilities”)
- When connecting with your boss/supervisor try saying something like, “Thank you for the past [x] years/months working here. I firmly believe I deserve an [x] raise because of how I’ve exceeded goals and taken on more responsibilities since I started. I’ve prepared this memo to show you (share the list). I’ve also done research and noticed that I am doing responsibilities similar to a [insert title of job] and that I do deserve to get an [x] raise based on the market. What are your thoughts?”
- Then be completely quiet. Remember, your boss most likely will not make a decision because they are not in charge of the budget but they now have all they need to advocate for you because of the evidence you’ve provided.
If they say no, you can ask follow up questions like:
- Can you help me understand why?
- Is it possible to have this conversation again in the future?
If you do not receive the raise, then you have to start considering if you want to stay or not and if you are on track to gain what you truly deserve.
Asking for what you want can be scary, but do you really want to wait for something when we only have one life to live? At least if you know you can get it — hooray! If you don’t receive what you want or negotiate, you can make a decision if you want to stay at a job OR even stay in a personal relationship.
We need more women leaders and well paid women leaders at that. If you enjoyed this quick negotiation training, I have even more resources for you!
Please check out these episodes of my Color Your Dreams Podcast discussing the WHY and HOW when comes to negotiating and communication for women:
If you would like further support in your career, business, or leadership, my team and I would love to support you in creating a sustainable life! You can schedule a 30-minute legacy business or career review call with me to see if it’s a good fit to work together, and you’ll receive 3 action-items from me.