Podcast, Professional

New Year Career Negotiation Tips

I recently had my year end review at the new gig, well not so new. I’m officially 9 months in but I still feel like the “new girl”. My review went well though and it was just a testament of how hard I’ve been working and how perfectly aligned for this position I was when I accepted this role in March. I’m so blessed to have this opportunity and have learned a ton about myself and career success in general because of it.

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Many of you may be preparing for your annual reviews as well in early 2021. So I thought I’d go over some tips to help you reach your dream salary increase, promotion, or similar career goals. 

I approached this topic with the perspective of someone justifying their worth and really proving to the company why they deserve whatever is being asked. You may very well end up in a position where your work throughout the year spoke volumes for you and an increase, bonus, or promotion is already lined up that you didn’t have to ask for. If that’s the case, graciously accept it and then leave it at that. You don’t need to do any additional negotiations if they exceed your hopes before you even have to plead your case.

But if you’re given the opportunity to express yourself early on in the meeting and lay out what you want, this upcoming content is for you!

Negotiate by arguing your impact

First, you want to identify your impact, specifically what you’ve contributed during the timeframe in review. Then, develop your impact argument.

It’s been established that COVID is real and it has uprooted so many businesses and people’s livelihoods in 2020. However, many businesses have still flourished or survived enough to making growth moves. Now, you’ll know your company’s climate better than I, but I challenge you to still ask for what you are worth and have proven by your contributions to the company. 

Do you know the overall cost savings for your company’s production that you’ve generated? Do you know how many sales you’ve influenced? These are just some of the metrics you should be tracking throughout the year and thinking about when you create your impact argument.

Other ways to identify your impact is by project. If you were a major contributor to specific projects or in a particular team, what results did you produce? Where did you shine the most? The more specific examples you have, the better.

Here are a few examples of things you can reference to gather the metrics:

  1. Reference past emails. If you have an email folder dedicated to projects, correspondence from your boss or co-worker, or even my company area. Use those to jog your memory.
  2. Browse public news. If your company puts out press releases or company-wide newsletters, they can be very helpful as well! If anything they reported on had something to do with your work (even partially), it made a big enough impact for them to report on it at a mass communications level.

So, that’s the first step. Determine your impact and have examples with facts on how it contributed to the company’s overall success. This can be in profitability and culture–depending on what you know is most important to management.

Negotiate the salary

Next, figure out what your ask is. There are a variety of things you can ask for as a merit reward during your annual review. Monetary recognition such as bonuses and salary increases are just the start. You also have additional PTO, more autonomy over your work, or even a title change. These are all negotiable items that can have you feeling good about your career even if there just isn’t room in the budget for a monetary increase.

If you are super focused on getting a salary increase, do your research. I like to use tools like Comparably, PayScale, and LinkedIn Premium to determine what the salary range is for my position, location, and education level. Also factor in your internal advantages such as your education level, experience in the industry, experience with the company, and technical skillset.

Once you’ve considered all these things, you will be able to come to an objective number that is logical and hopefully feasible for the company as well. Never let personal factors drive your decision such as your bills and family needs. That may cloud your judgement and your boss is looking for ways you are improving the company, not what they can do to make your job easier. It’s not fun to think of it that way, but it’s a hard truth.

Now, can you be happy with the objective number you determine and with your personal financial needs? Yes, there is ideally a happy middle ground. There is always room for tweaking too as long as you can communicate your competitive edge. What are some things you can highlight? Well, I thought you’d never ask…

  1. How long you’ve been with the company
  2. How long you’ve been in the industry
  3. Your educational background and how that has helped you succeed above and beyond in your role
  4. Any industry insight you’ve gained along the way by keeping up with current trends
  5. Skills you’ve developed whether it be through training, certifications, or personal growth that helps grow the company
  6. Any initiatives you’ve personally started and successfully implemented

Just having 1-2 strong answers to 1-2 of those things will go a long way. My favorite tactic is going to HR and getting intel from them on your position. Most companies have caps or at least a budget on salaries per department. Professionally and discreetly, try to find out if there is wiggle room in your department to accommodate your ask. And a bonus, if you were told during the interview what the hiring salary range was, that will be a huge indication!

Mentally prepare for the review

Lastly, the final tactic that I want to highlight for monetary compensation is the leverage of another offer. Say you have been searching and interviewing for roles at other companies. If you want to stay with your current company but truly want that increase as well, a polite nod to another job offer can mobilize a team quicker than you think. The only risk with that is losing your current position, so be sure that you’re willing to ACTUALLY take that other offer. 

Now, when it comes to negotiating for the other benefits such as PTO, freedom with your work, and other options; you can use these same principles. Obviously, the presentation would be centered around your alternative ask. Also, if the monetary ask is shot down, you can fall back to these with the expectation of your boss allowing this “consolation prize”.

The last piece of advice I have for you and this process is to mentally prepare for any outcome. At the end of the day, you may not get what you want. Do you stay with the company? Where do you draw the line between an acceptable and unacceptable outcome? These are things that you must determine for yourself. The last thing I’d want you to do is hate your job and your relationship with your boss because of the outcome from your meeting.

Use negotiations for career harmony

The goal is to have a healthy balance between your work relationships, being valued for your contributions, being compensated appropriately, and meeting your personal/family needs based on that compensation. Once you find harmony in all those things, you’re on the right track. 

Of course, I can’t end this point without bringing up the budgeting aspect. You want to be realistic and idealistic when it comes to this. Have your year’s budget (or monthly budget template) setup with your current salary, expected salary if you were to not ask for a raise, and goal salary based on a raise. Are these all doable? What adjustments must you make to meet your upcoming obligations. No matter the result, I want you to be prepared for the financial consequences. 

Now that all this preparation has been done, you can practice your ask and execute during your review. And then the work doesn’t stop there! You always want to be improving and giving your best, no matter the outcome. If the outcome is unacceptable, then take your best to another company when you have the right opportunity. 

If you plan on putting this into practice, I’m sending you all the good vibes and praying for your success! 

Want more tips like this blog post? Check out my career (professional) blog posts and subscribe to B Chic emails!

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