If you’re a new mum (or a future mum, or a well-practised mum!) who has returned to work, here’s something you need to consider - salary negotiations. You might wonder what salary negotiations have to do with becoming a mother, but it’s important if you are returning to work to consider how having a baby changes things.
And it does change things! Many, many things (as you no doubt know), but there’s one thing it shouldn’t change, which is your value to the business, your skills and abilities.
It’s extremely common for working mothers to question their value upon returning to work. Some feel as though they are worth less to the company because they have to duck out an hour early to do the daycare pick-up, or they have to work from home when their child is sick. They forget the contributions they actually make to the company, and the fact that they continue to do excellent work despite everything else going on at home!
So, when negotiation time comes around, working mums must be able to do a solid self-evaluation, as well as clearly demonstrate to their superiors exactly why you deserve a pay increase! Here are a few things to keep in mind when preparing for that conversation.
1. Get in the right frame of mindImagine there is an opportunity at work to go for an internal position. Chances are, out of a team of 10, almost all the men will feel they have what it takes to apply for the role, while the majority of women won’t. This is because, generally speaking, a man might think, “I have four out of 10 of those skills required. I deserve this job!” while a woman might think, “I can only tick off seven of those skills. I’m going to need to prove that I deserve this job.”
If you’re going to be asking for more money, you’ve got to get yourself into the right mindset. Instead of thinking, “I am so lucky to be working here as a mother” start thinking, “They are so lucky to have me here!” You’ll be amazed how far the right mindset will get you in at least taking the first step. 2. Keep track of your achievements - big and smallYour direct manager might know of your biggest wins and achievements, but what about the smaller things that directly resulted in success for you, a colleague or the company? Keep a file of your best work; your achievements. When it comes time for a review, or you feel like it’s time to ask for more money, fall back this. Give examples of your valued contributions to the business. Every little detail matters.
3. Find someone who has your backIt doesn’t have to be a direct manager or someone who is going to physically go in to bat for you, but it’s always good to have someone you can ask questions of. Ask them what they think your best achievements are. What should you be mentioning to your review panel? How should I present this information to get my points across best? They can help you think out your arguments and give their opinion on some things you should bring up to help your case.
4. Build your connections in the workplaceRelationships are everything, and if you’ve been out of work for the last four months on maternity leave, you might want to think about working extra hard to build them. We know, it’s hard to focus on relationship-building when you’re constantly thinking about deadlines, school pick-ups, meetings, and sleep deprivation - but it’s probably more important than anything else.
Making sure the decision-makers and important people in your team know what you do - and how well you do it - is essential when you come back to work. Don’t be afraid to shout about how awesome you are!
5. Don’t cry wolfIf your tactic is to play the “I deserve this raise or else I’m walking!” card.... well, you only have one chance to use this threat. And it could backfire! If you’re going to take this path, you have to be prepared to follow through. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!