NEWSLETTER | WOMEN IN MOTION
Knowing Your Value Negotiating Your Worth
When it comes to your career, the issue of your worth to the company is one that is always on your mind, but a topic that you dare not broach for various reasons. In negotiating your worth to an organisation, you are either your own best cheerleader or your own worst enemy. No one can – or will – advocate for you like you can.
Well, there are times when ‘push comes to shove’ and, whether you like it or not, a time to negotiate what you are worth to the company will inevitably arrive. At this point, it is important for you to know your worth, and know your value above all else. It is imperative to have a clear, realistic idea of what you could be earning, but be ready to back up your value to the company with solid evidence about your contributions to the organisation, not just your best attributes.
by Andrew Ngozo
Men Do It Four Times More
One study conducted by Linda Babcock at Carnegie Mellon University showed fairly consistent results that men initiate negotiations to further their interests four times as frequently as women do! So consider this: As and when you get the nerve to ask for a pay raise, the average man has asked for four pay raises. Each time a woman has the courage to ask for a promotion, the average man has done it four times. Every time that you stand up to get credit for your work, four different men have taken credit for it!
The average man is likely to be a better negotiator by virtue that they get good at things they practise, thus placing them as the better negotiator because they do it more often. Need I break it down any further?
Do not be afraid, therefore, to ask for a salary increase, and perfect your art of negotiation. If anything, employers admire negotiation skills, especially if they come from driven, confident employees who have proven their worth. Instead of accepting any offer that is put on the table, relax and be prepared for the negotiations. Know what is fair and what is reasonable!
The Maternal Instinct Works All the Time
The following tip may sound ancient, but has been proven to be one powerful tool in salary negotiations. As a woman, make use of the maternal instinct during negotiations. This is your best chance to turn the tables on bosses who think they can underpay you or plainly give you a raw deal because you are too scared to ask for more.
An old adage goes: “The most dangerous place in the world is between a mother and a child.” How can you channel your maternal instinct to make it your powerful negotiation tool?
You are willing to fight for your worth because you have the will/morale to fight. Thus adopt a new mind-set for all your future negotiations. You need to make yourself believe that, when you negotiate, you are actually fighting for the future of your child, family and loved ones. Every extra rand you can claim is an extra rand for your family.
Get a vivid picture in your mind of what you are fighting for (this is not a war, but you are looking at the bigger picture). This can be real, such as the kind of education that you would like your children to have, or it can simply be part of an imagined future. The onus is on you to set your eyes on the future.
Take whatever picture you have in your head and make it bigger, brighter and bolder. Imagine how your children will look when graduating from that college or university you so want them to study at. Or it can be a picture of you finally taking that overdue holiday to the islands! Look through the telescope and see what you can afford to do for your loved ones simply because you negotiated a higher salary.
Make it clear in your mind what success sounds and looks like, and think of all the happiness and joy this can bring to your loved ones. Now, think of your bosses: Are you going to let them take those things away from your family? Or are you going to fight like a mother elephant and smash the glass ceiling salary trap and get the salary you deserve?
Know Your Value, Negotiate Your Worth
Go into the boardroom with the mind-set that you are doing so to protect your family, and the outcome will be pretty good. As a woman, you have a quiet but fierce power that compels you to think ahead, plan, protect and act. This is not detrimental but a quality that, used properly, can work to your advantage in negotiations.
Before the discussions, however, take time to research what a competitive salary is for your position. You can do this by talking to friends and acquaintances in the industry or you can try using websites like Payscale.com. It is essential to have a rough idea of where the salary negotiations should be financially. If you have a clear and realistic idea of what you could be getting, you will be better equipped for negotiations.
During the negotiations, stay composed and positive. If the first offer you receive is below your assessment, then be honest about it. It is, after all, a negotiation! Do not be too wordy about your potential value to the company. Rather let your actions, work ethic and attitude speak for you. Your bosses are aware of your value to the company, but are you?
f All Else Fails…
A proven track record will speak more than bold statements about your potential value to the company. Take your time, and do not be afraid to ask for time to consider the offer. If management won’t budge and give you the salary that you deserve, then twist their arm and negotiate for other benefits. For example, you may negotiate for additional health benefits or an extra week of leave.
In the ideal world, says Caroline Ceniza-Levine a career and business expert, your salary is not a reflection of what you contribute alone. Instead, it is also a reflection of market conditions and your employer’s values and constraints. Thus, aside from knowing what your market value is, you should know the cultural context of how salaries are decided where you are – does your company pay at, below or above market?
Remember, in the workplace or as far as knowing your value and negotiating your worth are concerned, there are no glass ceilings: there are only glass walls. The most effective female executives get good at thinking and negotiating their worth like a man. They are self-confident, regularly demonstrating their success, and are comfortable in both passive and confrontational environments. After all, the glass walls only constrain you if you fear breaking through them.