Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Women - How to Get Your Worth in the Work Place

A crucial step in learning to negotiate is to learn from the women in our own networks who successfully asked for what they want and got their worth in the workplace.

I saw how tapping one's network can positively impact a woman's career after making an introduction to two female friends.  One was an executive with great deal of professional experience, and the other was just about to start her professional career and seeking career advice.  Let's call the first friend T and the second Y.
The more experienced friend gave friendly advice to Y who had just received her first job offer.  T encouraged Y to negotiate for a better package and to not settle for the first offer.  But Y countered this advice with a great deal of hesitation.  She was afraid she would risk losing the job offer by asking more for herself.  She was having trouble seeing herself as deserving more than what was given to her.

Don't get me wrong -- Y is hardworking, highly qualified, and someone I greatly admire as a person.  I could see she deserves more, but she couldn't.  Like many women, she didn't know how to negotiate, or that she could even negotiate.  Gently prodded by T, Y decided to work up the courage to ask for a better term.  She later happily reported that the negotiation worked out in her favor.

Three things dawned on me from watching this conversation unfold:

1.Negotiation is a learned skill that improves with practice.  T has a great deal of negotiation experience from both sides of the table and was thus able to give great, practical advice to Y.  Learning to negotiate is a skill that women may need to focus greater effort at developing than men, who in general seem to have a natural propensity to negotiate.  According to authors Linda Babcock and Sara Laschaver "Women Don't Ask", men initiate negotiations four times as often as women.  With more women entering the workforce,
entrepreneurship, and leadership ranks, its high time that more women raised their hands and asked for what they want.  Its time for women to develop and flex their negotiation muscles.

2. We need to talk more about initiating negotiation.  Watching T provide guidance to Y made me wish to facilitate more opportunities for women to connect and learn from each other on this topic.  Furthermore, it is imperative that we have informed discussions about salary negotiation as part of the larger, on-going discussion around wealth creation for women and closing the gender pay gap.

3. Women who successfully master the art of negotiating earn more money and are more successful in their careers. Another study cited by Babcock and Laschaver calculated that women who consistently negotiate their salary increases earn at least $1 million more during their careers than women who don't.
Initiating the conversation about salary negotiation with the successful women in our network is the first step to acquiring a negotiation muscle. 

This is the thought process behind the panel discussion I'm cohosting with Wimlink in New York next Thursday evening.  At this event, three talented women leaders in fields as diverse as executive coaching, law, and digital media will share their wealth of experience and insight on how to get your worth in the workplace.  Featured speakers are

1.    Julia McNamara, founder of Helix Career Management and certified executive coach
2.    Carla Varriale, partner of law firm Havkins Rosenfeld Ritzert and Varriale, LLP
3.    Bethany Hillman, VP of Operations at TVGenesis

Click here to read the full bios of each panelist and register for this event.

Whether you are starting a job search, a new job, or salary negotiation, this session will provide you with tips, inspiration, and guidance to take your career to the next level.  

Learn to flex your negotiation muscle.  Learn from the rich experiences of women leaders.  Be richly rewarded for the value you bring to the table.

Written by Jamie Lee @JiEunJamie 
Operations Manager at Tipping Point Partners

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