Historically, salary negotiations have been pretty straightforward. The employer offers a salary, you counteroffer, they accept or decline. However, a modern salary negotiation is much more nuanced. Harvard Business Review (HBR) explains, “As with other dealmaking, career negotiations should not be solely about getting as much as you can. The best negotiators generate mutually beneficial solutions through joint problem-solving and creative trade-offs, along with compromise.” We understand that it is a challenging time to navigate career and salary negotiations, so we’ve put together a quick guide to help you get started.
Understand The Different Types of Negotiations
Let’s revisit HBR for definitions of the different types of negotiations:
Asking: You propose something that’s standard for someone in your role or at your level.
Example: Asking for a certain salary level based on your research and qualifications.
Bending: You request a personal exception or an unusual arrangement that runs counter to typical organizational practice or norms.
Example: Requesting to work remotely three days a week when the position is advertised as “in-office” with valid justifications.
Shaping: You propose ways to play a role in changing your organizational environment or creating a new initiative.
Example: Proposing a new business unit that will help the department run more smoothly.
Think Beyond Salary
In modern times, our work lives are becoming more and more intertwined with our personal lives. Between remote working, relocation, work-life balance, and benefits, the decisions we make at work often directly affect what happens in our home. Thus, you must think beyond a salary number when considering your next negotiation. Make sure to take a look at the whole compensation package – including PTO, benefits, flexibility, and innovation. Consider not only how this offer will affect your professional aspirations but your personal goals as well.
Focus On Your Future
It can be easy to become short-sighted when faced with a job offer. In a competitive market like today’s, you may feel fortunate just to be presented with one! However, don’t forget about your long-term career goals. It’s not always about the highest salary or the best benefits. Sometimes, an opportunity will come along that looks lackluster on paper but will be a stepping stone to greatness. Consider factors such as career path, lifetime earning potential, company values, and whatever else contributes to your ultimate career goals.
Final Thoughts On Salary Negotiation
We’ll leave you with one final thought from HBR, “great careers are not authored alone. Your narrative will be co-written with work and life partners, and negotiation is at the heart of finding mutually gratifying ways for the story to unfold.” No matter where you are at in your career, recognize that your voice is important. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you deserve!