Negotiating on the Job, Part 2: Getting Prepared
This week, our negotiation expert Victoria Pynchon is tackling a reader's tricky question: Can you negotiate without leaving your current job? Check out the first part of her answer, then read on for tips on preparing for negotiation!
As you’ve probably guessed already, there’s considerable work to be done when it comes time to prepare for your compensation negotiation. It’s not hard work though, just work.
Here are the steps:
1. Review your current job description.
2. If you, like most employees over the past four years, have taken on new duties, make a list of them.
3. Update your job description for your own use.
4. Go to a site like Glassdoor.com or seek information from others in your industry to recharacterize what it is you’re actually doing. Is your current job title really reflective of those duties?
5. Use Glassdoor.com or your contacts in the industry (or even an anonymous question on LinkedIn) to ascertain how much your employer would have to pay a new employee to do the job you’re doing now.
6. Write down the following:
Now, without intending to ask for a raise or promotion, ask your superior out to coffee or lunch. The purpose of this meeting will be for you to learn what her greatest job challenges are, what her needs and desires are, and which of those goals your employer has prioritized in the immediate, short, and long term. Don’t ask for anything. Just listen. And afterward, write down everything you learned.
Your next step is to schedule a meeting with someone who has the authority to grant your request for a raise. If there’s more than one person with that authority, then schedule a meeting to discuss your request with the person most likely to approve it. I’d set this meeting up as a “check in” meeting rather than as an “asking for a raise” meeting because you’re still in the preparation and information gathering stage of your negotiation plan.
Begin this meeting by asking your bargaining partner about the greatest obstacles to success that your company is facing. Talk about the many ways in which you can help your company achieve those goals in the coming years. Talk about how you’ve already helped the company achieve the goals it set for itself in prior years—and use concrete examples. In other words, praise your own work as modestly as possible.
You can start the negotiation conversation then and there, or you can take the information you gained back to your advisors (your friends, co-workers, significant other) to sharpen your plan based upon the information you obtained.
The final step is the actual negotiation. This is the most difficult task for most of the women I work with. Not because it’s all that difficult, but because we’re unaccustomed to negotiating and we’re afraid that people will get angry at us if we negotiate on our own behalf.
In all likelihood, no one has ever given you a script to start a conversation about compensation that’s likely to lead to a satisfactory agreement. No one until now. So check back in on Friday, and that’s exactly what we’ll provide to you. In the meantime, start doing your prep work!
Send your toughest negotiation questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll answer them in an upcoming column! (We’ll keep you anonymous, of course!)
Photo courtesy of Planet of Success.
About The Author
Victoria Pynchon is an attorney who practiced commercial litigation for 25 years. Since 2004, she has been mediating and arbitrating commercial disputes - the former with ADR Services, Inc. in Century City and the latter with the American Arbitration Association in Los Angeles. In 2010, she founded She Negotiates Consulting and Training with her business partner Lisa Gates. In 2006, Victoria earned her legal masters degree in Dispute Resolution. She has been teaching negotiation and providing negotiation consulting services to lawyers, executives, professionals and entrepreneurs ever since. She is the author of two books, The Grownups' ABCs of Conflict Resolution (2010) and Success as a Mediator for Dummies (2012).