5 Essential Tips for Navigating Salary Negotiations

Jennifer L'Estrange
November 6, 2019

Let’s chat about money.

The majority of people have it, spend it, are trying to make more of it, and save some of it when possible. Everyone needs money for the basic human necessities like a roof over one’s head, bills to pay, and mouths to feed yet talking about money, and asking for more of it it can be a difficult topic of conversation for most.  

Now throw in the fact that you are talking about money with a supervisor in direct correlation to your “worth”, the level of difficulty increases exponentially. How can you negotiate and improve your confidence in handling the process of inquiring about a raise or promotion? Red Clover has a few suggestions on how to improve the experience and results when the time comes to negotiate with your manager. 

Plan it Out

First and foremost, create a plan. As Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”, and failing is NOT an option.  While creating your plan, think about your current role and what your goals and aspirations are with the company. What steps do you need to take to reach your target? Do you want a salary increase? A promotion? Both? Does your organization have a clear path that will help you achieve those goals? What does that path look like? Once you know what you want, make a list of the information you need to successfully negotiate your position and compensation and do your homework. Knowing you have a plan to follow should give you confidence as you proceed.

Know Your Numbers

Once you have identified your goal, you need to understand the numbers. Utilize online resources like Indeed, Glassdoor, Payscale.com, and Salary.com to look up the median salaries for your position or the position you are seeking. Research the comparable compensation for the role in your geographic location to prevent you from basing your information on inaccurate data. Know what the market looks like, understand how your salary matches up, and make sure your ask is aligned and realistic. You want to be sure you’re comparing apples to apples, the smallest difference in role or responsibility could make a large impact on compensation. 

Understand the Benefits Big Picture

Compensation does not start and end with your salary. What does your benefits package look like? Are you offered health insurance?  If so, what percentage does your employer cover? Does your employer have a 401k with a percentage matched? Do you have a generous PTO offering? Is there an option to telecommute or a flexible schedule? Are you eligible for bonuses? These are all things that contribute to the overall benefits package your employer offers and should be factored in when thinking about your compensation as a whole. If these items are not offered but would add value to your overall compensation, consider some of these things part of your negotiation. Think about the big picture when entering into a salary negotiation and not solely about the dollars.

Take Time to Reflect

Once you have a solid grasp of the numbers, it’s time to take a look in the mirror. Do you consider yourself a valuable employee? Are you happy with your performance? Are you all in or just going through the motions? Complete a self-review of the work you’ve done; highlighting your achievements, skills, and responsibilities while also making note of your failures. Be honest with yourself and document exactly how you add value to your company. Provide evidence of your growth and progress since your last evaluation. Solid information will come in handy when stating your case for advancement. This is important because your manager might not have a comprehensive understanding of everything you’ve worked on or contributed to. Maybe you typically fly below the radar, but are constantly collaborating and making sure your work is done, and done well. When you have facts and evidence in front of a manager it makes your hard work and value concrete.

Timing is Everything

You have gathered the necessary information and completed your self-reflection. The next step is scheduling. When is the best time to schedule this meeting? Schedule the conversation about salary separate from your performance review. While your compensation is related to performance we recommend they be discussed independently of one another. Do you know when your company starts to look at the budget? That’s an ideal time to talk about your compensation since they are looking at their projected numbers and budget for the upcoming year. You can also initiate this conversation when there has been some organizational changes.  If those changes within your company lead to you taking on additional responsibilities and inherently change your position, it is time to schedule a talk about compensation.

These steps should leave you prepared to negotiate your compensation confidently. If your organization does not have a plan or structure in place to make your efforts effective, please reach out to the Red Clover team. We can assist organizations with performance development processes, compensation structures, and organizational design to make it clear to both management and employees how to advance within the company. That clarity will make the dreaded salary negotiation a conversation you look forward to having.

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