Ask Our Experts: How to Win at Salary Negotiation

 

This webinar has been pre-recorded and transcribed below. Text has been edited for clarity and readability. This webinar and transcription are intended to be a general resource only and is not intended to be nor does it constitute legal advice. Any recommendations are based on opinion only.

 

 

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Introduction



Welcome to everyone joining us today. We’re here for our monthly “Ask Our Experts” series, and this month we are doing something different - talking about how to win at salary negotiation. And I had to bring Jenn Wade in, our Chief Marketing Officer, to talk about this. Jenn, you have been with Copper State Credit Union for six years and you’ve shared that your favorite part of the job is helping team members along their personal career journeys as well as connecting our Copper State Credit Union Brand and who we are with the members. I appreciate you joining us on Facebook Live today! I know you are very passionate about helping people to advocate for themselves in the workplace to have those difficult conversations about pay and about benefits, and not shying away from those. Because sometimes it's needed!

 

Jenn, Chief Marketing Officer:
Thank you, Christina. So excited to be here as well and to chat with you. This topic is something I am very passionate about so I can't wait to dive in.

 

 

Why is talking about our salary and pay so uncomfortable?

 

 

Jenn, Chief Marketing Officer
So, first, it's a hard topic. There is some fear around what may come from this type of conversation with your boss, of course. Then, when you're sharing salary information, that can create some tension between colleagues and some people may even feel some resentment towards management with that. So it can be tricky, certainly.


Christina, Host
Even just the perception or anticipation of that awkwardness.

 

Jenn, Chief Marketing Officer
That is absolutely it. Perception. We could be our own worst enemy and come up with a million things in our head that may happen, but won't necessarily be the outcome.

 


Christina, Host
And you know, it seems like we are moving towards an environment where the conversation about pay is a little more transparent than it used be. So that helps as we begin the conversation. But I appreciate you acknowledging that it is difficult! It is a tricky conversation to have no matter what, at any position you're in.

 

 

 

If it's so difficult to talk about, why should I bother?

 



Jenn, Chief Marketing Officer
Think of it this way: For someone that's just starting their career, not negotiating your pay can have an impact on the rest of your career. So what do I mean by that? I've seen data that's comparing someone that negotiates at the start of their career versus someone that did not negotiate and the difference and the lifetime earnings could be about a million dollars.

 

Christina, Host
That's a huge amount of money. I guess if you think about how long we’re in the workforce - 40, 50, or more years, I guess it would add up to be quite a lot, even if at the beginning it doesn’t seem like much of a difference.

Jenn, Chief Marketing Officer
That's too much money to leave on the table simply because this can be an uncomfortable topic. This isn't just for people starting out in their career either. It's also for anyone, any stage of your career. In fact, it’s something that’s going to come up throughout your career at various times when you have the opportunity to negotiate.

 

 

 

Is this advice only for people in management or entry-level? What about hourly, salary, seasonal, temporary, etc.?

 

Jenn, Chief Marketing Officer
There are so many different types of employment out there. The tips that I'm going to share really applies to anyone who is looking to have that compensation conversation with their manager. So, anyone and everyone.

 

Christina, Host
Good to know. I'm glad to hear that! So your advice on negotiating with your employer, talking about pay, benefits, all of the fun things, you said it really comes down to three tips that you're going to share.

 

Jenn, Chief Marketing Officer
Yes. So I have to give a disclaimer here. These three tips really come from a variety of sources. I've had some amazing managers over the years who have shared great insight. And colleagues as well throughout my career, as well as being a manager myself. My team members have come back and given me insights. So this is a collection of all that pared down into just three things.

 

 

 

 

 

Salary Negotiation Tip 1: Be Specific About Your Value




What this means is really pinpoint those key areas that you've created or managed in your role that have a direct line to show that it's creating success for the company, for your company as a whole. And use real numbers here. Don't speak in ambiguous terms. Really hone in on some good valuable data because that's so important. And this really should not just be a list of the tasks that you see in your job description and how you've checked the box and completed them. This is going above that and showing that value.


Christina, Host
Being really specific makes sense. It almost sounds like a recommendation to keep a ‘living’ resume. Always noting when you make a big difference in the place you work. It's a lot easier to say, "I'm just really awesome so I should get a raise." That is not as meaningful as, "I have five star reviews from the last 37 customers that have walked into our store." Or whatever the example is. Getting that real, specific data and connecting it.


Jenn, Chief Marketing Officer
Yes! Here’s my next tip:

 

 

 

Salary Negotiation Tip 2: Have a clear understanding of your company's compensation strategies.

 

 

Jenn, Chief Marketing Officer
You'll really need to take the time to familiarize yourself with your company's guidelines before you ask for a raise.

Christina, Host
Why? What could go wrong if I don’t do this?


Jenn, Chief Marketing Officer
Well, as you mentioned earlier, more and more companies are becoming transparent about how they make pay decisions. If you have this knowledge, that's going to help you build your confidence for this discussion. Because you don't want to be in a scenario where you've done the tip number one, you have those numbers ready, but you didn't do your research about your company's compensation policy. You don't want to end up with 'egg on your face' because you didn't necessarily need to have the conversation (there was a scheduled raise already on the way). Or, it could be the opposite - maybe the timing isn't quite right or something else about the policy means you can’t move forward how you thought. This would be helpful to know ahead of time!


Jenn, Chief Marketing Officer
Last tip - this is another one more focused on being prepared ahead of time.

 

 

Salary Negotiation Tip 3: Make sure you have an understanding of your soft skills.

 


Christina, Host
What do you mean by soft skills?


Jenn, Chief Marketing Officer
So an example of soft skills would be the ways that you're communicating with others, how you approach tasks, your attitude towards things, if you are perceived as helpful to other team members, other departments, etc. These and many other skills fall into that realm.
Self-evaluation, especially for something like this, can be tricky. So, if you have a trusted colleague that you could ask to give you an honest answer on how you approach tasks. Your attitude overall in the workplace, your ability to listen and work together with others. They feel very common sense, but it's really nice to have that extra insight.

Christina, Host
This is really helpful. So to recap - we want to be specific, we want to understand the company's compensation strategy as a whole and how we fit into that so that we don't look ridiculous going in with a different plan. And finally, being self-aware of how I'm coming across - for that meeting in particular and just in general. So let's say I do this, right? Tomorrow I go to my boss and I have this conversation. 

 

What if it doesn't go well?

 


Jenn, Chief Marketing Officer
I like to think of this as a 50-50 chance. It's 50% it could go great; 50%, maybe not quite as you expected. So you do the work, you get prepared, you go in and it doesn't go quite as intended. That certainly can happen. And for a variety of reasons, not just because you didn't do a great job. It can be many other factors that are related to your company, to your manager. So this is not, as we talked about, one and done. This is something that you can use as experience to try to gain some insights from the conversation for next time.


Christina, Host
And whether it's now or it's down the road at a different employer, whether it's with this current manager or a different one, you're still practicing something that's difficult to do. But you're getting better at it by just trying it.


Jenn, Chief Marketing Officer
That's it. This is, each time it is practice. So this level of being uncomfortable with it, it's going to get better every time you're going in and you're feeling confident and prepared.


Christina, Host
So Jenn, if you had to pick one thing that you wanted our audience to take away today from this conversation about salary negotiation, whether it's at the beginning, like a lot of people are starting new jobs right now and it's an exciting time to be starting a new job or a new career path even. So whether they're at that point or it's a place they've already been for a while and they're looking to have that conversation with their current manager, what is your takeaway that you want all of us to have and to remember?


Jenn, Chief Marketing Officer
So keep in mind that this conversation, the goal here is that it's twofold. This is really first, an opportunity to practice. As we've talked about, practice, this is going to help with making this even easier. Also, this is the way that you're going to get some insight into your performance and that perceived value as an employee. So it's really great for gathering that information for yourself. And honestly, at the end of all this, this is a hard thing to do just going into the room, having the conversation. I mean, that deserves a pat on the back. Give yourself that appreciation!


Christina, Host
That's so true. I'm glad you ended with that because sometimes you don't take a minute and acknowledge when something's really hard and we did it anyway, right?
I just want to let everyone know in case you weren't aware, we do have lots of resources available on our website, copperstatecu.org. If you go to up in the top menu, free webinars is where we have all of our event info for upcoming events. And then if you go to the About section, you'll see the resource center and that's where we have financial calculators. We have coaches that walk you through different scenarios, lots of articles, eBooks. We have all of our webinars on demand in that section as well. So if you're interested in learning more from Copper State Credit Union, we are here, we love doing this and just talking to members and sharing the knowledge that our leadership has at the credit union. So thank you so much everyone for joining and thank you Jenn! See you next time.

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This article is intended to be a general resource only and is not intended to be nor does it constitute legal advice. Any recommendations are based on opinion only. Rates, terms and conditions are subject to change and may vary based on creditworthiness, qualifications, and collateral conditions. All loans subject to approval.