Roxanne Flores, a native of Brooklyn, NY, is Vice President, Human Resources & Chief Diversity Officer at Meredith Corporation, a role she assumed in April 2018 when the company acquired TIME, Inc. Roxanne oversees all aspects of the company’s human resources worldwide, including talent development, employee engagement, labor relations and compensation and benefits.
When it comes to salary negotiations, women in general are less likely to ask for a raise. And it gets more complicated as we dive into different cultures. As Hispanics, we have learned to simply be thankful that we have a job and grateful when given more. My dad was a doorman and I remember as a child watching him go to work with a broken arm. When I asked why, he said, “Why not? I have another one.” I mean, c’mon!
What is it about the idea of stepping into our boss’ office to request a well-deserved increase or promotion that makes us want to curl up in the fetal position? Money has a bad rap. The way we feel about money is learned. and we are each programmed to look at it differently. I remember preparing arguments and counter arguments when asking my dad for $5! I also remember how my mother’s happiness was tied to whether or not she had money to spare. Our first memories about our family’s relationship with money have an impact on how we feel and react to it today.
No matter your background or how you feel about this, you need to get OK with asking for more. Yes, your fear of talking about money will help you avoid root canal–level discomfort, but it also will seriously hold you back in your career. The momentary feeling of anxiety from asking is a small price to pay for reaching your full earning potential.
But how do we get there? Let’s start by debunking some myths around negotiations:
- Negotiations are for men and confrontational
- There are only two outcomes: winning or losing
- I need to educate myself on the art of negotiation beforehand because my peers are better and have much more experience than me
The above statements are simply NOT true and are actually excuses we make to avoid the discussion. Pro tip #1: I have found that taking a clinical approach — removing myself from the equation — helps me with the negotiations.
The following are some ways to prepare:
- Make a list of your accomplishments
- What additional responsibilities have you assumed?
- What value have you added to the team? Your clients? Your organization?
Arm yourself with information:
- Educate yourself on what employees in like-companies and industries earn by reaching out to recruiters or your HR business partner
- Check online sites like Payscale.com, www.glassdoor.com, www.salary.com or www.fairygodboss.com (the Glassdoor for women)
- Talk to your peers in the industry
Be ready for the discussion:
- Prepare notes for the conversation and check yourself emotionally. Know that it’s natural to be nervous before this type of meeting
- Practice your pitch with a friend or mentor and be specific about your expectations
- Schedule the conversation avoiding hectic days. Pro tip #2: Thursdays seem to be associated with a yes
Don’t fear the No!
The fact is all managers work within a budget. Also, your manager may not be responsible for the budget at all and may need to escalate your request. Your department or company may be operating above budget for a variety of reasons that may make it impossible to give you a raise immediately. That’s okay, just be prepared with other options that may not mean money in your wallet but still will represent cost to the company and investment in you. Some of these can include:
- Negotiating extra vacation time
- Introducing the concept of working from home
- Are there opportunities for you to take courses or participate in company projects that would help you expand your circle and experience?
Throughout this conversation, it is imperative that you maintain your professionalism at all times. You want to stay positive, not pushy. Also, keep personal/family needs out of it — and don’t forget to listen.
The truth is the more you negotiate, the easier it gets. You have this! ¡Manos a la obra! Until next week.
I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a tweet on Twitter @FloresRoxie