Negotiating for a pay rise, a re-structure of your role or altered working arrangements is one of the most confronting scenarios one must face in the workplace. But in order to get what you want, you have to be prepared to ask for it. This may sound simplistic but so many employees take the passive approach and believe that if they demonstrate how hard they work by putting in extra hours or over extending themselves – their boss will justly reward them. While this does happen in some organisations offering a generous bonus system or flexible work arrangements, more often than not the only acknowledgement they receive from management is a thanks in the hallway.

Seeking a pay rise or promotion requires the ability to negotiate with management, backed up by a demonstrable skill to take on the extra responsibility.  You must also be prepared to enter the subtle dance of compromise.

The best negotiators are those that come mentally prepared and present themselves from a position of strength not neediness. No matter how much you need that bonus, or additional team member or resources you must present that desire as a win/win for your boss and yourself. In doing so you feel strong in what you’re doing and you feel stronger about your performance. Present your wish list as something that will empower you to raise the bar for your organisation as a whole.

Here are some tips for your negotiation armoury:

  1. Begin by knowing your value – Objectively appraise your accomplishments, your goals and how you have executed these for your company. How has your contribution aided the company’s agenda or growth strategy? If you are new to the company – or negotiating from a contract position to full-time – how will your prior experience benefit/transform the company? Once you have qualified that, obtain as much comparative market data from industry bodies (such as The Institute of Chartered Accountants), Cameron Recruitment, employment websites and your colleagues (both male and female) on what your market rate is.
  1. Next discern what your immediate management and senior colleagues are looking to achieve. What are their needs, concerns? Is there an area of expertise or knowledge that would help them manage better? Then you can align what your desires are with them. Present yourself as the solution to the problem that they have yet to anticipate.
  1. Now focus on what it is you want – beyond base salary. Money is crucial but not the only factor to work fulfilment. What is important to you – flexible work hours, more holiday time or ongoing study benefits? Devise a wish list from which you can negotiate and prioritise what your breaking points are and which you would be willing to barter for.

Write down your plan.  You need to explicitly articulate what it is you want and why you deserve it. This is a black and white exercise and you must leave your emotions and ego at home. In order for your negotiation to be well received it must be based on fact, predicated on the value that you’re going to bring to the company and the bottom line that you’re going to effect. Also committing a plan to paper makes your intentions clear to you – you can also map out likely scenarios that will come up in the negotiation. What are you prepared to back down on and what is essential? Think through a range of possible outcomes – how would you react to a counter offer, a refusal, a left field change of role? Don’t be caught off guard!