Experts blame generations of social conditioning for making women believe that they are less deserving than men and so, women end up negotiating lower wages or compensation packages for themselves. Scholar & Senior Lecturer at Harvard, Hannah Riley Bowles, calls this the ‘entitlement effect’. She believes that this effect reinforces gender discrimination and encourages women to start claiming authority, instead of waiting for systemic changes.
Here is how women employees can negotiate better for themselves:
Don’t Undermine Your Professional Contribution: Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook, advises women to adopt the I-We Strategy. You can speak about the relationship you foresee between you and the organisation. By expressing your concern for the organisation, employees may give in to your salary demand, with the hope to work with someone with your attitude. Do your research and understand the compensation packages your male and female counterparts are getting in the industry for the same profile. As you work towards upgrading your skills, your pay too should be upgraded to match it. Make sure you assess your value to the company from time-to-time.
Don’t Wait, Just Ask: No one but women can reduce this gender normative expectation gap, which has created the notion that women will never ask. It is time to break away from this assumption. Don’t assume the reaction, just go ahead and ask with confidence, a confidence which might nudge them to think beyond social, gender conditioning. Experts suggest that women must imagine that they are negotiating for their employer or the company. Women are almost always ready to stand up and negotiate for the others but somehow shy away when it comes to themselves. A little role play would help a great deal to break the ice.
Be Open to Constructive Feedback: Always pursue positive criticism and engage in dialogues with your colleagues/employer to learn how you could improve. Dig deep for information and different perspectives, this habit of initiating dialogues and detailed conversations will not only help you deliver better and establish stronger relationships but also, enhance your negotiating skills.
Seek Mentorship: Speak and meet with other senior women in your industry or any industry for that matter. Their experiences will give you confidence and also prepare you to handle negotiating situations better. Their success is a strong testimony to their negotiating skills which you can try and imbibe.
Shatter the glass ceiling and surge ahead, breaking away from all your inhibitions. Being man or woman should not affect personal or professional goals; in fact, a healthy collaboration and mutual respect, between both sexes, will result in success, and if one dare say, happiness!