How To Unapologetically Negotiate Your Worth In The Workplace

May 10, 2016  |  

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Nicki Minaj recently declared in an interview with Time that women should be “unapologetic” about asking for more money in their professions. “One thing I learned along the way in business is the necessity for you to be unapologetic about asking for how much money you deserve,” she told the magazine. “At a very early stage in my rap career, I was making six figures for shows…If I heard there was another rapper making that, I thought, ‘you know what? I get out there and demand or command a crowd. I get out there and make my fans happy. I get out there and give a real show. I want that, too.’ And I pushed myself to be better with my showmanship, but I also decided, you know what? I want to be compensated well.”

Minaj wants other women to be empowered as well with the skill of negotiation. She added, “I would tell women starting out in business, if you know you’re great at what you do, don’t ever be ashamed to ask for the top dollar in your field,” she said. “If I’m great at what I do, I can’t be denied. Some things may be overlooked but no one can deny my brand, and that’s the words of wisdom I would give to other young women.”

Words of wisdom are nice but many women still have difficulty finding the actual words to ask for what they are worth in the workplace. In fact, more than 60 percent of millennial women say they don’t know how to ask for more money, found a recent survey conducted by Levo, a career network for millennials. This fact remains even though 83 percent of respondents agree that it’s important to negotiate their salary and/or benefits package and 83 percent believe that they will earn less money by not negotiating.

Less than half of the women surveyed, just 41 percent, negotiated any part (salary and/or benefits) of their job offer, mainly due to a lack of knowledge on how to negotiate. A whopping 66 percent said they did know how to negotiate and 63 percent felt uncomfortable negotiating.

“Women negotiate less than men in general,” explained wealth psychology expert Kathleen Burns Kingsbury of KBK Wealth Connection. “There are many reasons, including the mixed message women get about being profit motivated in our society.

“It is okay for a man to be a provider and profit motivated, but somehow when a woman does the same thing she is seen as difficult, or too aggressive. In addition, women, especially those who are of the boomer generation, received family messages about women and finance. Many of these women were taught that it’s the man’s job to make and manage the money. Unfortunately, this has led many women to not take care of themselves financially until they have too.”

And since women still take home less than men–79 cents on the dollar for white women and 64 cents for Black women — it’s even more imperative the female workforce negotiate their salaries and benefits. “The truth is women may need to negotiate their salary more as there is an unconscious gender bias when it comes to women in the workplace,” Kingsbury added. “All women (and men for that matter) need to embrace salary negotiation as a money talk that is part of being an adult.  The more women speak up and ask for what they are worth, the more the gender wage gap will shrink.  It also serves to role model to the women coming up the ranks after you that it is okay to talk about money.”

So how do you negotiate?

–First, know your worth. What is your skill set worth to the company? How will your knowledge help boost the company’s bottom line?

–Don’t walk into a negotiating session cold. Practice first–and practice again. ”Practice with a trusted colleague, coach, or friend. Practice overcoming objections by putting yourself in your employer’s shoes. If you practice answering these objections you are more likely to overcome them in meetings, or at least be prepared for this type of push back.  Be respectful of the employer’s position but continue to state your case for why you bring value worth ‘X’ to the firm,” explained Kingsbury.

–Understand the current economic situation.What is the economy like in the country? How well is the company doing? What’s the job market like? Is there high unemployment and many people applying for the same job?  “Be aware of the position/industry and its economic impact,” said Kingsbury. “The money generated by the company and/or position are determining factors in what is budgeted for salaries.”

–Don’t accept the first salary offer. “Assume the first offer is negotiable; in most cases it is,” explained Ed Wertheim, Associate Professor and negotiation expert at the D’Amore-Mckim School of Business at Northeastern University in Boston. “Most advise letting the employer first bring up the issue of salary unless you are dealing with a raise situation.”

–It’s not always about money. Instead of a higher salary, you might want to bargain for more time off, flextime, etc. So instead of just asking for more money, ask for more perks and benefits.

–Don’t try to man up.  You don’t have to adopt the personage of a man when negotiating. Use your womanly instincts to your advantage. When negotiating for higher pay, research has found that it is not enough for women to act in a way that conforms to stereotypes. Acting feminine enough — that is, showing they care about maintaining good relationships as well as the communal good over themselves, for instance — helps women in the likability department. And that’s important,” reported The New York Times.

–Make the request not just about you; with negotiation take the “we” approach. Your success equals the company’s success, and vice versa. “Take a Collaborative Approach,” reported Salary.com. Society has trained women to better listen to the needs and concerns of others. We do this with our friends, with family members, and at work. Women can use a cooperative approach during negotiations to show how what is being asked for will benefit all parties. Framing negotiations as a win-win situation, instead of approaching negotiations in a competitive manner, often results in more acceptance among coworkers and peers.”

 

 

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