What is the best way to approach negotiations concerning your salary and job conditions?

Compensation and benefitsSalary negotiation

Conditions have never been better on the job market for employees to push for and negotiate conditions with which they will be truly satisfied. Skilful and capable people on the market are few and far between, and HR professionals have responded by thinking of inventive ways to attract and retain the best talent for their companies.

All companies internally assess employees based on the added value they deliver to the business, their leadership, support, relationships, and especially in terms of the ROI (return on investment) they deliver. If you’re one of your company’s key employees, it’s good to know both your internal value and your overall market value, which is primarily determined externally, outside the company, by comparing your salary to the market value on Paylab.com.

The next step is to combine this internal and external knowledge and speak openly with your manager about your expectations for salary progress at your regular performance assessment interview. Maybe your company does not have a regular framework for salary review purposes. In that case a suitable time for such an active step may be after the successful completion of a project, if you played a major role in bringing new clients or increasing sales, generating cost savings, streamlining processes, increasing customer satisfaction, etc.

salary comparison

What concerns us most when promoting our interests at work?

The greatest fears in communicating demands at work are the negative reactions and feelings associated with demands being made from the other side of the negotiating table. It is perhaps uncomfortable communication that you have to initiate. Another worry is negatively impacting relationships at work and the fear that your boss will no longer see you in a positive light. The potential loss of employment is another common concern, when a manager starts looking for a cheaper alternative after you have made clear your dissatisfaction with your current compensation. Here it’s important to understand that asking for a salary review is justified because the job market behaves like any other market that is subject to the laws of supply and demand. A company has defined salary ranges for specific positions, and some companies even factor in an annual increase in payroll costs in their planning activities. Companies are currently trying to reach out to employees by offering attractive motivation packages.

compensation package, job conditions, employee benefits, perks

What do you want and why?

Negotiations cost a tremendous amount of energy, which is why you need to take the time to really prepare the arguments and message you want to communicate with the employer. You have to leave your comfort zone and think deeply about your personal career expectationswhere you want to go and the, main drivers behind your initiative. A good reference point is the current salary bracket for your specific position, level of experience, education, professional field, and region where you work. You must attend the meeting armed with the relevant information! After all, you are presenting yourself, and attention is focused on how you are related to your work performance. Personal problems such as “I’ve got a mortgage, I want to travel more, or I’ve got 3 children” should not be raised at such a meeting, even though such circumstances may be the most immediate reason for such a salary negotiation.

Are your expectations realistic?

If there are no major changes in your responsibilities and you remain in the same position, you might expect a pay rise of up to 10 per cent, but a more realistic expectation is roughly 4 to 6 per cent per year.

Larger pay rises on a regular basis are rare. The percentage of such a rise can be expected to increase if you change positions or your responsibilities change, and you assume more responsibility and other duties. A progressive salary increase from 15 to 20 per cent is realistic in such a situation.

Your current position and your employer’s current situation must all be considered. If a pay rise is simply not on the cards at your company, you can always negotiate other job conditions, such as:

  • Non-financial benefits
  • Benefits and concessions
  • Working hours
  • A promotion, a different position
  • Professional growth
  • Mentoring by more experienced colleagues
  • More decision-making power and responsibility

How should you approach negotiations?

There is nothing worse than approaching a meeting with your manager as a fight to win at all costs. Such approach defines your manager as an opponent, and you as wanting something he or she is simply not prepared to give. Such communication is adversarial and unhelpful. You should aim to turn your boss into an ally.

That’s why you need to think more broadly and consider how your counterpart is thinking. What are the challenges your supervisor is facing? Can you help? You have the opportunity to influence his or her decision or how specific work tasks are approached. What package of solutions can you offer? A partnership-based approach to communication offers an advantage because managers are more likely to appreciate a cooperative approach. In such a case the conversation is more professional and emotions are set aside.

An example of a great way to explain it is: “I really like the work, I love the company, I can see myself growing here, and I want to continue giving my personal best. That’s why I’d like you to review my personal remuneration so it’s effective and fair for both sides, and most importantly, motivating for the challenging period ahead.”

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Communication and Market Research Specialist with focus on Compensation & Benefits