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How to negotiate a pay raise in a pandemic

An expert in organizational leadership and negotiation lays out why a virtual negotiation, instead of in-person, can work to your advantage.

How to negotiate a pay raise in a pandemic
[Photo: Nature/iStock]
沙巴体育手机登录” your current job responsibilities, expanded benefits, work schedule/location/mode, administrative support, or professional development (e.g., tuition or coaching reimbursement). By suggesting other possible solutions, you help reframe the negotiation into a collaborative problem-solving session.

Finding a “yes”

sometimes negotiation ends in a stalemate. the employee leaves unhappy and, as is often the case when a boss’s hands are tied by rules or other constraints, the boss leaves frustrated. the economy may be tough, but talented employees with in-demand skills will find other options. suggests it can cost up to two times their annual salary to replace a professional or managerial employee.

沙巴体育手机登录to avoid a stalemate, prepare to present a yes-able alternative. for example, you might negotiate an increase (or bonus) that is tied to the accomplishment of a specific goal: “if my plan for decreasing production costs succeeds, i think it’s fair to receive a bonus equivalent to 10% of those overall savings.” another yes-able alternative would be a phased-in agreement: “considering the data show i am underpaid by 20% compared to new hires, how about we increase my salary by 5% in august, and an additional 5% by the end of the year?” at the very least, you might agree to revisit the conversation at a specific time, for example, in three months.

Can I negotiate virtually?

沙巴体育手机登录While there are some challenges to virtual negotiations, such as difficulty building trust or potential for misinterpretation, not being in the same room as your boss can actually bring distinct advantages.

barring technical issues, all parties can be present, including those who might be working in a different region of the country. additionally, power differences (such as fancy offices, large desks, assistants as barriers, or even a person’s physical size) that can negatively influence an in-person negotiation are rendered irrelevant in a virtual environment. moreover, the ability to easily access notes without it being obvious to others can support you during your negotiation.

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beyond ensuring a reliable and secure connection and platform, one key way to overcome the challenges of virtual negotiation is to . negotiators must be mindful of engaging in conversation that builds rapport, delivering and responding to verbal and nonverbal cues, asking clarifying questions, requesting feedback as needed, and showing appropriate emotion.

What’s next?

maybe you’ve come to this point and you’re inspired, but afraid. what is holding you back? if not now, then when will you have this conversation? if you decide to wait, use this time to practice your negotiation skills. nothing increases confidence in a skill more than using it regularly and effectively. find everyday opportunities to negotiate a discount at a store, a special price from a service provider, a barter agreement with a neighbor, or project allocation among colleagues.

negotiations aren’t always comfortable, and virtual communications can be tricky. no wonder you think twice about engaging in virtual negotiations in today’s uncertain environment. don’t let the anxiety of what could go wrong stop you from recognizing your value and advocating for yourself. you’ve got this.


 is professor of management and conflict resolution at George Mason University and director of executive negotiation programs. 

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