It’s not easy asking for more money in 2021. After all, the COVID-19 pandemic shattered the economy. Although millions of jobs have been recovered since last year’s recession, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell admitted recently that the real unemployment rate in the U.S. is closer to 10 percent. Yet even if there are hundreds of folks who’d like your job that doesn’t mean you should sell yourself short. After all, you have the benefit of company-provided experience and training. Replacing you means forfeiting that investment.
Unfortunately, 60% of women have never negotiated their salary. Since 72% would leave an employer to earn more money, they may be job hopping more than men (who are statistically more likely to negotiate.) Anyone who is accepting less than they’re worth is literally donating millions of dollars of lost income to their employer! So get ready, steel yourself for this crucial meeting, and review my advice on how to discuss salary with HR.
1.Do Your Research
Before you schedule an appointment to discuss compensation, get your facts in order. You need to have a figure in mind. Otherwise you could accept a lowball offer or excuses as to why you won’t be getting a raise. So visit sites like Glassdoor’s “Know Your Worth” or PayScale. Take a look at how your area’s cost of living compares to other parts of the country. A Manhattanite can’t survive on the average Montanan’s take home. Besides getting salary information for your skill set and industry, if your company has a major competitor try to discover what they are paying employees. Besides salary, include stock options or bonuses. Using the data, write down a specific number like “$82,342.” This not only illustrates your preparation but research shows that round numbers like “83,000” are less successful in negotiations. If possible, print out some of this info. You may not need it but just knowing you have this research will increase your confidence.
2. Be Prepared
Even if you weren’t a Boy Scout, you need to be mentally and physically prepared for the meeting. Practice discussing your achievements and transitioning to your salary goals. If possible, do this with a trusted friend.
The night before the meeting, do some yoga or meditation exercises. Take a warm bath and reduce the caffeine. Watch something silly or read a book. It can be tough, but do your best to get a good night’s sleep. The morning of, have a healthy breakfast. Before entering the meeting, visit the bathroom. Hold a power pose in the mirror. Recite a mantra. You’ve got this.
3. Present Evidence
Never, ever ask for more money because your rent just went up or your child care costs have increased. That’s not how to discuss salary with HR. Instead, point to your record of achievement and increased responsibility. Track information like improved sales or increased customer retention. If you took a lead on a project, bring that up. If you are managing a team without a manager’s salary, that needs to be addressed. Although many of us have discovered we actually enjoy working remotely, handling the transition with aplomb is another good reason to get a raise. Although most companies right now are still on the hook for all that unused office space as businesses transition toward flex time and work-from-home positions there could be money on the table in the form of savings from rent payments. According to Global Workplace Analytics, employers save about $11,000 a year for every person who works remotely half of the time. There’s no reason you shouldn’t get at least some of that money.
4. Expect to Negotiate
Most of the time, your employer’s offer won’t be the last one. Take your time before accepting anything. Make sure you’d be happy with what they are offering. Then come back with a counter proposal. If they offer a 5% raise and you asked for 10, getting seven percent is still a bump.
5. Don’t Make Ultimatums
If they don’t meet your expectations, don’t just threaten to quit. It’s not a good look and burning a bridge is never a good idea. If you’re truly unhappy, use that feeling as motivation to search for a new job –– while you’re still generating an income. Honestly, most people earn more money when they switch jobs than they ever make from raises. Still, a history of job hopping isn’t ideal for your resume. However, if you did your search prior to the meeting with HR, then that changes things. Say another company offered you more than you’re making. If you love your present job but need a salary increase, there’s nothing wrong with bringing up the competing offer. Just make sure you’re really willing to leave if it isn’t matched.
6. Remember Money Isn’t Everything
Maybe your company really can’t afford to give you a raise. What else do you want? If you’re working from home, new equipment is a reasonable ask. If you’re an employee, they should already be reimbursing you for your internet, printing, etc. If they aren’t, then make sure they start doing so. A company car might be a possibility. Or you could opt for increased vacation.
Never forget your own value. Negotiating an increased salary is scary. Yet it can also remind you of your own worth.