Making the Ask: Woman UP!

Image via @wocintechchat

Image via @wocintechchat

By: Minda Harts, Founder, The Memo

Have you ever been afraid to ask for something? Maybe it was a small thing: like borrowing a cup of sugar from a neighbor, or asking a friend to take you to the airport. I hate asking other people for things. Unless I absolutely need something, I won’t ask (and even then, I’d still lean towards not asking).

Then one day, I found out you could (and should) ask for more at work. This, of course, can go two ways: 1) Ask for more work and responsibility, or 2) Ask for more money. Have you tried either one?

I’ve spent over 10 years in my industry, and one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned as a woman in the workplace is that you’ll never get what you want if you don’t ask. When women make as little as 54 cents to a man’s dollar, there is no room to be shy.

At our Salary Negotiation Career Boot Camps, we help women strategize their ask. You can’t kick your boss’s office door open and demand more money, but you can have an open and planned discussion on your worth and how that equates monetarily. One way we break the glass ceiling is by simply ASKING. That 54 cents won’t magically go up if we don’t know our worth.

A few weeks ago, you read some awesome tips to get you ready to negotiate. (If you haven't, check out Angelina Darrisaw's tips on the blog!) You know your worth, you know why you want more, you know what you want to ask for, and you believe your boss wants you to win! Now you’re ready to have the conversation.

As you’re thinking about your next performance review, here are a few more tips to help you have an effective salary negotiation conversation with your boss.

1. I LOVE My Job! Always start the conversation off with what you like about your job. This is a good time to bring up how long you’ve been at your company/organization, how you’ve grown in your role, and how important it is to help your company achieve its goals. This is a good time to bring up any additional roles you’ve taken on.

2. I Know My Worth. This might be one of the hardest parts of the conversation. This is where you transition into the negotiation. This is also the part where you have to put on your big girl pants and own the ask. A nice transitional phrase might be, “I would like to discuss my compensation to bring it in alignment with the market value in [your company’s city].” This is also a good time to include that you’ve been researching the current market value of similar positions in your field. Research, research, research! You don’t want to go into this conversation without doing the research. This will help your case for support and open the dialogue. Not to mention, it will signal to your boss that you came to slay!

3. Do They Understand My Worth? This is a great opportunity to highlight a project you recently completed and the expansion of your role. Articulate how these additional opportunities are important to you and to the company’s bottom line, and are key factors in your decision to request a review of your current compensation. I realize these aren’t easy conversations to have, but they are important ones that you will continue to have throughout your career. Having this conversation is also a good temperature check to see how much your company values your work.

4. Bringing It Together. As long as you make it known that you are an integral part of the company, and that you want continued growth opportunities---this will hopefully make the conversation feel less stressful. Talk about the future of the company and help paint the picture that you’re in it to win it. For example, “I enjoy working at ACME, and look forward to future opportunities for growth.” Articulate your short term and long term goals.

5. Make the ASK. Again, I never said this conversation would be easy, but I will remind you how necessary it is. The conversation show flow something like this: “Based on these factors, I would like you to consider an x percent increase from my current salary of y, raising my total compensation to z”. Only you know what that increase should be, so make sure you do your homework before asking for a concrete number. Finally, put a ribbon on the conversation by reiterating how much you love your job, and how you believe you have a bright future ahead with your company. And then, drop the mic.

I know that just reading about having this conversation might scare you, but we believe in you and your career. You are the architect of your career. You have the power to build success, and that means having those hard conversations that position you closer to your goals. Even if the answer is no, you can bounce back and plan out your next steps. That might be asking your boss what you need to do within the next six months to better position yourself, or it might be looking for a job that can compensate you better. Always remember, YOU are your best advocate. Don’t sell yourself short!