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Top 15 tips to remember when you negotiate your salary

Tamanna Mishra
8th Aug 2018
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Everyone knows that negotiation is key to getting the salary you deserve. But a shocking statistic is that more than half of (52 percent) men and almost 70 percent of women employees accept whatever salary they are offered.

This means that even as we invest our money in mutual funds, deposit PPFs, and buy property, most of us are missing out one quick and painless way to make more money – negotiating for a better package. This is often due to cultural or gender conditioning but sometimes also because not all of us know how and when to negotiate.

To help, we compiled a list the top 15 tips you need to remember the next time you are about to enter a salary negotiation.

(image credit- Shutterstock)

Know what you are worth

Don’t take any salary offer at face value. Do your due diligence online and by asking among your network how much someone with your experience and skill set is making outside of your organisation. Have a number at hand during your negotiation from where you can start and control the conversation.

Work on talking points before the meeting

When you put out a demand for a better salary, you are going to have to justify it. A day before you enter your meeting, have facts at hand. Numbers like industry standard salary, your past contribution to revenue or team, etc should be on your fingertips if you want a productive discussion.

Start with a bigger number

This one seems obvious, but often isn’t. If you have a salary range you want to demand, it is always better to start with the higher end of the range. This not only reflects on your self-confidence but also gives you and your employer a bargaining margin before you arrive at a number comfortable to both parties.

Timing is everything

It is important that you have the conversation at a time that works for both your manager and you. Spending 20 minutes on a stressful, busy day to tell your manager you are not happy with your salary is not the smartest thing to do. If your employer has annual appraisal cycles, start the salary conversation a couple of months before so your manager can budget for it and is not caught unaware.

Start on a confident note

You want your employer to know you are confident about deserving the salary you demand. So make sure your body language and conversation reflects this confidence. If you come across unsure, you will lose the bargaining chips.

Be self-aware, but not delusional

It is important that you demand what you deserve but only when you are ready. You want to build a solid, fool proof case for yourself, so make sure you have been around your job for a while, you have taken on new responsibilities, and have enough proof points to back up your performance claims before you have this conversation.

Bragging is quite alright

Many of us shy away from talking about our achievements because we don’t want to come across as bragging. But highlighting your achievements is part of the employment package. If you don’t talk about them, nobody else will. Achievements hold the key to higher salaries – don’t be embarrassed about spelling them out.

Articulate what more you can

Highlighting your past achievements is important, but so is defining how paying you better will be good for business. Have ideas about what more you can do in your role, how you can be more effective, and build a case for a better salary from there.

Have your manager’s interests at hand

One negotiation tactic that works very well is when you showcase yourself as a solution to the challenges your manager faces at work. Talk about sharing responsibilities and achieving shared goals. This will give them a reason to justify your demand for a higher salary.

Lay out your demands in order of preference

Don’t just go into the discussion with one demand. Have a bottom range of the salary you are willing to accept along with other demands like promotion, signing bonus when applicable, stock options, etc. During the conversation, lay out your demands in order of preference so your manager understands you will not settle for nothing.

People rarely give you a better salary for personal needs

It is enticing to mention personal needs like home EMIs or child- and geriatric-care when negotiating a higher salary. Try not to do it. You are being paid for what you do at work and your individual performance and achievements should be linked to the demand, not living expenses that are the same for everyone.

Stalling works

Negotiations can be scary, but you don’t have to accept the first offer that is made to you. Take a moment’s pause or reschedule the discussion and tell your manager you need time to think about the offer. When you don’t jump at the first offer, your manager will come back with a better one in the next discussion.

Reiterate your demand, even if the first answer is no

Just because your manager says they don’t have budgets for a salary hike, it is important that you reiterate what you are worth. Chances are you will find a way to settle for a middle path or your manager will give you a timeline by when they can match your demand.

Keep it clean

Negotiations don’t mean crossing the professional boundaries of your behaviour. The minute you threaten to quit or throw a tantrum, you have already lost your case. Ensure that the conversation remains positive and healthy at all times, no matter what the outcomes.

Have a plan B

Sometimes due to budget constraints and at other times due to industry performance, there are chances your employer is unable to match the number you demand. Don’t settle for anything too far away from what you had in mind. Sometimes, saying no is powerful. It helps you focus on finding better, more beneficial opportunities.

Workplaces need negotiations more than we realise – they start at salary but you need them every time you get a new responsibility, need more help on your team, or angle for a promotion. Preparation is key to a healthy negotiation conversation.

What are your favourite workplace negotiation tips?

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