Advice

5 Philly Biz Women on Asking for a Raise in the Age of #MeToo

Here's how to negotiate in 2018.


ti-ja | iStock

The viral rise of movements like #MeToo, Time’s Up and the Women’s March have put much-needed attention on the challenges women continue to face at the workplace and in their personal lives. As far as the workplace goes, women still battle roadblocks that affect their earnings and ability to advance. So with the growing prominence of the #MeToo effort, are women thinking differently about pay raises and promotions? Have the rules about pushing  for a pay raise or pursuing a promotion changed? We asked five of the region’s leading businesswomen to share their best negotiating tips for 2018. Here’s what they said:

Know Your Worth…

The #MeToo movement has brought to the foreground a very important issue, now is the time for women to stand up and not accept anything but equal treatment in all aspects of our lives. – Emily Bittenbender, managing partner at Bittenbender Construction

The first thing that you need to understand is your worth, and your position’s worth in the marketplace. Go to the glassdoor.com, salary.com or payscale.com and search it that way. I also recommend finding people within your industry that are in similar rules and creating network with those individuals where you can bounce your thoughts off of, gather their feedback and insights outside of your organization, just to get a better understand of the competitive landscape and your role in that. – Joanne Ryder, executive vice president & chief administration officer at Beneficial Bank

When they go low, you go high. In the famous words from Michelle Obama, I will utilize this advice for payment – you can negotiate payment down but never up. Sometimes we lower our value thinking if we come in cheaper then we will obtain that business or new position. I’ve done that for too many years and did not understand I was discrediting my work and experience. Once I calculated my network, my experience and brand value I realized to not only double my business prices but my personal brand prices as well. – Tiffanie Stanard, CEO at Stimulus

Do Your Research…

When we know our stuff—average costs, delivery times, competitive salaries—we tend to sit up a little straighter and speak with more swagger. We naturally have more belief in what we say, and we advocate more persuasively. Take the time to tap your network to get the inside scoop on your counterpart and what style they prefer (logical, humanistic, data-driven, etc.) And do your research to get smart about the impartial data that supports your ask. Then make your request aggressive. One caveat: to an extent, no one is ever working with totally complete, perfect data. Don’t think that your case – and its supports – need to be so perfect that it paralyzes you into not acting. – Selena Rezvani, vice president of Consulting and Research at Be Leaderly

It’s really good to have a self-review process. I like to do this throughout the year. Every month I jot down in a notebook some of my accomplishments in that month. So that when my annual review comes and I have to sit and do my self-review, I just go back in my notebook, and I don’t forget some of the things that I accomplished throughout the year, which I think tends to happen. – Joanne Ryder

Utilize all your resources and be informed. Sometimes women forget to ask for help and to utilize the resources they’ve built over the years. There is no time to be “shy” or “too humble” when trying to close a big deal. Call in the big dogs as they say. Talk to colleagues, call your mentors for advice, whatever it takes to close the deal. Also, be informed about the position or contract you want – utilizing a mixture of Google and asking around could help you obtain the information you need to add to your pitch and close the deal. – Tiffanie Stanard

Go for It…

I work on the premises of “you have not because you ask not.” Any woman who wishes to move up in her career and industry must be aggressive in asking for that promotion or raise. – Orphialasertrella Adams-Taylor, CEO & president at Aunt Orphia’s Delicious Homemade Pound Cake

I try to always look at it as a discussion rather than a negotiation because I feel like negotiation has a negative connotation and it tends to imply that someone has to lose, and I don’t think that’s the case. Go in asking everything that you want, but just know that you should have a priority order. This will allow you to be willing to then give up certain things, and be satisfied giving that up, according to that order in a negotiation. Remember, it’s got to be mutually beneficial and sometimes you can’t get everything that you are asking for, but I still recommend asking for it all. – Joanne Ryder

Honestly, I am very direct and to the point. I don’t really negotiate. I tell people what I want, and if they disagree, I persuasively explain my position. And if it is for the good for all parties, I will compromise. I believe in a win-win for all.Emily Bittenbender

Call on breaks or delays. Just because you’re well informed doesn’t mean you’ll be ready to make a deal with an absolute “yes” or “no.” In fact, you may be unsure just how right the terms are without deeper analysis. Feel free to say, “I’ll think about that and get back to you” or “I need to give this more thought.” (Taking a step back is never more important than in a ”drive-by” negotiation where you’re surprised or spontaneously engaged to negotiate. If you’re pressured to make a decision in a short time frame, then negotiate to lengthen the window. And if you’re ever hesitant about the conditions of a deal, either delay your response or refrain from saying “yes.” The old negotiating adage still rings true: if you dislike the terms now, you’ll hate them later!Selena Rezvani

Adjust Your Mindset…

Go in asking everything that you want, but just know that you should have a priority order. This will allow you to be willing to then give up certain things, and be satisfied giving that up, according to that order in a negotiation. Remember, it’s got to be mutually beneficial and sometimes you can’t get everything that you are asking for, but I still recommend asking for it all. If you still feel like you didn’t get what you want, it may be time to look other places. That value you have isn’t important to the organization. Always remember that you’re in the driver seat. – Joanne Ryder

First, make a list of reasons why you are qualified for that promotion/ raise. Walk into that meeting very professional and confident with dignity. Always make eye contact, you can look around but never down. Be pleasant but firm while speaking and just ask the question, also keep your list handy. Don’t get discouraged if you didn’t get the answer you were hoping for at the first meeting. – Orphialasertrella Adams-Taylor

When it comes to a salary negotiation, come up with a number that is the highest number you can rationally defend. Don’t give a range, doing so gives away more information than is helpful to you. (It tells your counterpart what you’re willing to settle for). Your aggressive opening number should not satisfy you, it should delight you.Selena Rezvani

Embrace the “No”…

All too often, if somebody hears “no,” they really take it as a damning conclusion or an endpoint. If there’s anything I’ve learned from women executives, it’s that they’ve never been afraid to go back and say, “How about now?” “What’s standing between me and the role now?” Maybe the timing or the person wasn’t right the first time around. Maybe you need to tweak your pitch a little bit. Either way, if you never hear no, you’re not asking for enough.Selena Rezvani

Let them tell you “no” before you tell yourself “no.” There are many times I went after contracts that I probably wasn’t ready for but then I realized men do it all the time so I stopped second-guessing myself. Some of the best opportunities I received were from meetings where I saw the opportunity to pitch my company and I took it, not sure of a good outcome, then receiving a yes. If I received a no, I wasn’t disappointed because I knew it wasn’t meant to be yet. But now the company was made aware of my interest for the future. – Tiffanie Stanard

Don’t Apologize…

Many people are overly deferential when negotiating with a boss. With a boss we can become apologetic, squeamish, and uncomfortable in making our request and potentially inconveniencing them. So, reframe the discussion. Go out of your way to have a conversation with a peer. Think, you and I are collaborating to solve a problem. After all, all a negotiation is is a conversation that ends in agreement. – Selena Rezvani

I think women tend to apologize, particularly with taking up someone’s time during a meeting. I think when you schedule the meeting, you go in with your information and data points. You don’t need to apologize for taking up their time, it’s their job. I think that sometimes women think they are coming off as too greedy. But again, if you know your worth, value and contribution in the marketplace then your negotiation is coming from a place of what you deserve, instead of a place of greed. – Joanne Ryder

Additional reporting by Fabiola Cineas. 


IN THIS SECTION