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How to successfully negotiate your next promotion
Maggie Zhang, Business Insider | August 8, 2014
This is your chance to negotiate your salary, job title, office or desk location, paid time off, telecommuting, and even subsidized commuting expenses.
Congratulations! You were just promoted.
You’re probably thrilled to be moving up the corporate ladder — but that excitement may come to a halt when you realize the new pay, perks, and title aren’t what you expected.
This can be a tricky situation.
You feel like your boss already did you a favor by promoting you, and you don’t want to seem ungrateful — but you know you deserve more than what your employer is offering you.
But you should think about it this way: When your company promotes you, it means they value you as an employee — so any requests for an increase in pay, better perks or different title aren’t unwarranted.
So, this is your chance to discuss and negotiate your salary, job title, office or desk location, paid time off, option of telecommuting, and even subsidized commuting expenses. You can even also ask for perks such as gym memberships, dry cleaning costs, child care, parking spots, or education expense reimbursement.
Here’s how to successfully negotiate your next promotion:
Recognize your promotion as a negotiating opportunity.First you need to recognize that a promotion is an opportunity to negotiate. “Don’t take the first package that’s offered to you,” advises Eden Abrahams, founder of Clear Path Executive Coaching. Treat the details of your promotion like a proposal, not something set in stone.
Many people don’t realize that their employer expects them to negotiate, because they tend to anchor the initial salary very low. Keep in mind that studies show it costs $150,000 for a company to replace a good worker, so it’s actually a better option for them to give you that raise.
Prepare as much as possible. “Make a list of what you want and what you are willing to do for it,” says John Baldoni, author of “MOXIE: The Secret to Bold and Gutsy Leadership.” “Think through what you will say. It may even help you to script out your responses.”
The worst thing to do would be to wing it. “You should be strategizing about the points you want to bring up, what you’re asking for, how you want to frame it, and your employer’s perspective,” says Jennifer Bevan, a career coach at JCB Coaching. Also, come prepared with your job performance records, resume, and other documents.
Consider context. “If your company is going through a challenging period financially, you’re more likely to get traction around flexibility, vacation time, equity incentives and other non-financial benefits than you are on significantly topping up your base salary raise,” notes Abrahams. If your company is more traditional and has set titles for certain positions, it would probably be a waste of your time to negotiate your own title.
Do your research.“Figure out what’s most important to you — a higher salary, more flexibility, a better title — and make sure you find the data you need to support your best ask,” suggests Abrahams. For salary, you can use CareerBuilder's salary search to discover what employees are paid in similar positions.
You can also use the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics or professional associations and industry groups that publish annual salary surveys. Useful benchmarks to research include market rate, prior salary for the position, and salary increase proposals.
If you are looking to improve your salary, you can also find some information within your company. “Have some informational chats with people in the organization to gain some insight from their own experiences,” Bevan says. “Oftentimes, the best way to get information is internally.”
Use facts, not emotions.“Always, when you negotiate, back it up with data and numbers. If you’re talking about salary, give them a range as to what your value is,” says Bevan. If you want to discuss mileage, gas, and tolls into your salary, tell your employer the exact mileage and calculated costs associated with your commute and show how they add up over time.
If you bring data on what the market is paying for someone else doing your job description with similar location, education, skills, and experience, you can use it as further support. You can also cite studies and statistics.
Be bold. You should not be shy about talking about salary or perks, Baldoni says. Make it clear you are willing to work to earn the higher pay grade or better benefits. “It connotes greater responsibility,” he says. It might even be more helpful for both parties if you are straightforward and plainly state that money is important to you.
Show your value.If you are irreplaceable in the company, you will have more leverage. You need to convince your employer that you are critical to the company’s success and that you can serve its needs better if they pay you what you’re worth and offer you perks that will make your life a bit easier.
Give your employer a list of your accomplishments. Studies show that those who don’t give a good reason for their request drop their employers’ compliance rates by 40 percent.
“Remember that your institutional knowledge and relationships will likely allow you to get up to speed and have a positive impact in your new role more quickly than an external hire could, and there is value in that, too, which should also be reflected in your total compensation package,” says Abrahams.
However, make sure you don’t act entitled. “You want to be confident in your negotiation but don’t assume that you are owed the promotion,” Baldoni says. “You can talk about your accomplishments and your effort but don’t act like a prima donna.”
Keep your employer’s goals in mind. When presenting your case, acknowledge your boss’s perspective. “If you want to telecommute one day a week, highlight how you expect the arrangement to benefit your performance, your boss, and the organization as a whole,” Abrahams says.
If you want a better office location, “position your request as something that will help you work better with your team,” says Baldoni. You should try to understand your employer’s position as well. If you don’t understand the reasoning behind his or her offer, you may not have a strong enough basis for your negotiation.
Pick your battles.Don’t try to negotiate everything. “You still want to be a team player, so don’t nitpick tiny things that make you look like you’re getting too big for your britches,” Bevan says. If you try to go after too many details, you might lose sight of the big picture.
Be respectful.“Don’t play hardball, because you want to build these relationships for the future and start your new role as positively as possible,” Bevan explains. Show your employer that you are excited about the role and try to make your negotiation more conversational than confrontational.
You want to maintain a positive reputation in the company, so don’t destroy any potential of future advancement by worsening relationships. Regardless of what happens, if your employer went out of his or her way to promote you, show your gratitude with respect.
This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
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- 5 questions to consider when deciding whether to accept a promotion
- How to approach a job promotion wisely