As a policy writer for the u.s. postal service in Washington, D.C, Juanda Barclay jockeys for position and exposure by informing key players about upcoming initiatives. “I [must] communicate the objectives if I want credibility out there,” says Barclay, 50, manager of purchasing policies and programs who earns $110,000 annually, receives 100% of her health benefits cost free, and can keep up to 700 hours of annual leave on the books. “I have a clear line of how [word travels] up and down and I let my boss know throughout the year.” As a result of her efforts, she is due to receive a 10% bonus at year’s end if her staff meet its goal.
Barclay is not the only American seizing the day in this tight labor market economy. In a recent survey by Towers Perrin, a management consulting firm based in Philadelphia, 94% of respondents don’t expect to have a job for life and feel that it’s their responsibility to remain employable.
Consequently, workers are bargaining for more than a bigger pay raise. The 1999/2000 Compensation Budget Survey of Fortune 1000 Companies conducted by Buck Consultants in New York found that over 90% of respondents used alternative pay strategies, while over 75% offered alternative work models. For example, 78.8% implement hiring bonuses and 72.2% include flex-time in their compensation packages.
This is kickoff time for those who comprise the top talent and key players in their respective fields. In this article, we’ll give you five practical tips to help you get paid what you’re really worth. If you’re itching to make a move within your company-or to the one next door-our game plan will help you to gear up for your next round at the negotiating table.
RULE #1: DO YOUR HOMEWORK
The key to any successful negotiation is information: the more you have about your goals, the company’s interests and what’s going on in the market, the more equipped you’ll be to negotiate for what you want. “Information gives you data points, helps you figure out what the [salary] range is, and what other people are getting in similar positions,” says David Simms,* 28, a private-equity fund manager who negotiated an $85,000-a-year salary with a $30,000 sign-on bonus and a relocation package last fall. “In an age where knowledge is power, knowledge capital represents added value,” adds Steve Jordan, of Jordan Associates, an organizational effectiveness training firm in Hartsdale, New York.
Consult with headhunters and talk to professionals in your field. Knowing what the market is bearing helps you to assess your position’s value in the industry at large. “I understood what everyone else was getting by talking to people who took similar paths,” says Simms, who has a M.B.A. from Harvard. He believes this insider knowledge arms you with the information you’ll need to walk away from a deal if necessary.
Also, read trade and professional association surveys-such as those from the American Compensation Association (www.acaonline.org; 877-951-9191)-and use government resources such as those furnished by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov).