Everyone knows to negotiate salary and other benefits when you’re first offered a job at a company. However, many people, even the best ones, rarely think to negotiate on offers when they make internal moves within departments or as they get promoted.
Consider the following:
Dana, who’s perceived as an expert in her field among her peers and senior leaders, gets assigned to a new function within her unit. Her hard work at her current role had paid off. She’d been in her role for four years and was more than ready to move on and move up. Her manager thought so as well. However, when it came to offering her the new role, her manager casually introduced it to her during her annual employee performance review. And instead of giving her a nice increase, gave her just the annual increase of 3.5%. She was told that it was a lateral move, even though it really wasn’t, and because she didn’t push to get more, she gained very little financially.
Adam is a high performer who came into his current role and owned it. He made that role his bitch. Within just a few months, he not only became an expert at the systems but also implemented process improvements that saved his company hundreds of thousands of dollars. His work caught the eye of senior leaders who kept hearing about his successes. His unique skill sets made him perfect for a new role being created. He was tapped on the shoulder and encouraged to take it. During salary negotiations, he was offered a 6% increase. He knew that not only was he the perfect fit for the role, he was the only choice. Also realizing that this was a promotional role, he countered with 10% increase. After a somewhat tense negotiation, he settled for 7%.
Michael is also a high performer at his company. He was an external hire brought in to manage the compliance process and he kicked ass. Similar to Adam, a unique role opened up for which he was perfect and he was asked to apply. Knowing fully well that he was the best and the only option, he pushed hard against the low-ball increase he was given initially. The result – he got a 15% bump in his salary.
Not only are these real life scenarios, they are also people working for the same company (albeit at different departments), at the same professional level and were offered new positions around the same time. So why was it that one person barely got an increase while another secured a huge bump? It comes down to how well you negotiate.
Think about it this way. A bump from 6% to 10% may not make a big difference in real dollars so you may decide that it’s not worth fighting for. But this one act of laziness can result in a lifetime of being underpaid. There is a tangible cost to not negotiating a higher salary. And this cost is cumulative over time. Without a counteroffer, you can easily lose out on thousands of dollars.
Every job offer and terms, even internal ones are negotiable. Many people hesitate to negotiate internal offers because they feel like it’s not an option. Trust me, the HR manager who’s offering you the job is incentivized to get the most from you at the lowest cost possible. She’s working for the company. Not you. And if you’re not fighting for yourself, then who is?