Negotiation is a skill that very few administrative professionals say they’re good at. Not only do most admins feel they aren’t good at it, but many cannot come up with anything except salary that might be negotiable at work.
For many admins, negotiating a better salary is not realistic. In many organizations, salary is non-negotiable. A job pays what it pays, and it doesn’t matter what you bring to the table, what you say, or what you do, the number won’t change.
However, there are many things that admins can likely negotiate, including:
– Overtime (pay and/or time off)
– Training (the fees as well as travel and time off to attend)
– Vacation allotment
– Vacation timing
– Remote working
– Location of workspace in office
– Home Internet (plus printing paper, supplies, etc.)
– Working hours
– Parking (location and cost)
– Health benefits
– Association membership
– Extended lunches and breaks
– Fitness membership
Don’t assume that because something is negotiable for one person in the company, you will also be allowed to negotiate it. You have to pick what is important enough for you to negotiate, and what you can live with.
[ctt template=”3″ link=”dI545″ via=”yes” ]Negotiation is a method that allows you to arrive at a mutually acceptable resolution of an issue. Not just salary – but tons of options in the workplace.[/ctt]
Negotiation is a method that allows you to arrive at a mutually acceptable resolution of an issue, usually through discussion.
If you want to negotiate the addition of a fitness membership as a benefit, for instance, what issue is that resolving? If you want to work from home three days a week, why would your employer entertain that idea? Why should they reach an agreement with you about something when it already works well for them the way it is?
You have to add value for the other party; otherwise, there is no reason for them to negotiate with you. Determine (in advance) what issue you are resolving. Figure out what’s in it for them.
Let’s assume that you want your company to pay your association dues. Why should they? What’s in it for them? Unless they benefit from what you are asking for, there is no incentive to change the status quo. As far as they’re concerned, it is already acceptable.
Negotiation is designed to be win-win. Both parties should feel content with the outcome and feel that they benefited. Too many people step into negotiations thinking only about what they want, and they forget about the other party.
[ctt template=”3″ link=”4OI30″ via=”yes” ]Both parties should feel content with the outcome and feel that they benefited. Too many people step into negotiations thinking only about what they want, and they forget about the other party.[/ctt]
For instance, I have heard of people asking to have their association dues paid for, and having that request turned down. It is possible that it is not an option for some—at some companies, it just isn’t a benefit that is ever paid for; no employees get those fees covered. However, if your company covers some people’s association dues, you may have a situation ripe for negotiation. But to be successful, you will have to illustrate the value to the company that will come from them covering your association fees.
What not to say: “I’d like to discuss the company paying my association dues. They are only $100 a year, and I’ve worked here for a long time. For the past eight years, I have paid them myself to show you how committed I am to this association. I’m hoping the company can pay for them now.”
Why would the company agree with that argument? It offers nothing to the company—no incentive, no value, no reason to suddenly start absorbing the cost.
However, if you explain the benefits they will receive from paying your dues, you will have a better chance at a successful negotiation.
What to say: “I’d like to discuss the company paying my association dues of $100 a year. Over the past eight years, I have been an active member and have increased my efficiency and professionalism tenfold. Last month, I attended several online events on leadership and on using Slack for communication at work. I’ve been sharing that information with the other admins. I’d like the company to pay for my association fees, and then each month I can organize a lunch-n-learn session for the admins, to share what I’ve learned. They will see it as a benefit for them as well. I think you’ll see far more than $100 worth of value.”
By focusing on how the other party will benefit from your request, you will be far more likely to succeed.
Not everything is negotiable. Not everything has a benefit for the other party. But by carefully choosing what you will negotiate and then showing what the benefit will be for your employer, you will be much more likely to get what you want and create a win-win outcome. With time and lots of practice, negotiating gets much easier.