Throughout your career, you may encounter a moment when an unexpected job offer lands on your desk, even while you’re content in your current role.
This fortunate turn of events can boost your self-assurance and ignite the notion of using it as a bargaining chip within your existing organization.
? Mastering the Art of Leveraging External Offers for a Raise
At first glance, leveraging an external job offer to secure a raise from your current employer seems like an intelligent negotiating move.
However, it’s a delicate path to tread, and a misstep can inadvertently lead your employer to believe that the grass is greener elsewhere – a result you likely didn’t anticipate when you initiated this strategy.
Successfully steering this situation in your favor requires meticulous planning, even before that job offer lands on your desk.
? The Power of Preparation
Well, before broaching the subject with your employer, familiarize yourself with how salary negotiations typically unfold within your company.
Take the time to investigate whether similar requests have succeeded before. Understanding not just why it worked but why it worked is vital. Additionally, assess whether your skills and circumstances align with those earlier success stories.
Seek advice from a trusted mentor outside your organization who can guide you on how to approach this delicate situation or even whether you should approach it at all. They can help you articulate your long-term career objectives and provide valuable insights into how your employer might react to your request.
Remember, this shouldn’t be your first request for a raise. If it catches your employer off guard, they might interpret it as a sign of dissatisfaction or as evidence that you’re actively exploring outside job offers. This could erode trust and damage your relationship with them.
Discussing the possibility of a raise in advance, even if previous attempts were unsuccessful, primes your employer for a more constructive conversation when an actual job offer enters the equation.
? Understanding the Risks
While you might be content in your current role with no intention of leaving, raising the prospect of another job offer requires you to be prepared to act on it or have a contingency plan.
Some management consultants even advise employers not to concede to such requests, as they believe it can disrupt the organization and set a precedent that other employees may follow.
Many professionals are cautious about using external job offers as leverage, as it’s seen as a high-stakes strategy that could potentially jeopardize your future at the company and your reputation beyond it. Even those who have successfully employed this tactic emphasize that it’s typically a one-time card to play with an employer. Jena Abernathy, the author of “The Inequality Equalizer,” who used it successfully twice, ultimately left both companies within a year, sensing that the trust level was never fully regained.
? Striking a Collaborative Tone
Negotiating a raise, especially when revealing an external job offer, isn’t the time for an aggressive stance.
Ultimatums and deadlines can alienate your employer and lead to a firm “no” or, even worse, a severing of ties. It’s essential to convey that you’re entering the negotiation in good faith rather than as a declaration that you’re departing.
One of the riskiest aspects of using a job offer as a bargaining tool is the perception that you’re putting your interests above the organization’s. In a work culture that values loyalty, this can impact your employer’s willingness to cooperate and your relationships with colleagues, potentially exacting a “social cost.” Research indicates that men and women risk this social cost when initiating negotiations, with women often facing more critical scrutiny.
To mitigate this perception, emphasize that you’re still aligned with the organization’s goals and weren’t actively seeking employment elsewhere. If you’ve thoroughly researched external compensation, present this information as a valuable tool to help your employer make informed decisions.
? Money Isn’t the Sole Currency
Is a salary increase your sole objective?
You might find more success by requesting intangible benefits that enhance your work-life quality. Consider asking for a title promotion, more engaging assignments, increased responsibilities, additional vacation time, training opportunities, or clarity regarding your future within the company.
Before the meeting, decide if these alternative requests align with your goals or are part of a backup strategy should the raise request falter.
? Departing with Dignity
Despite your initial intentions to stay, circumstances may lead you to part ways with your current employer. Ideally, you’re leaving for a more appealing opportunity, not as a result of a perceived overreach during negotiations.
If you’ve handled your request for a raise ethically, it’s possible to part on amicable terms, leaving the door open for a potential return in the future. Even if rejoining isn’t on the horizon, you can exit gracefully, preserving your industry reputation and cherished professional relationships.
Offer to assist with a transition plan for your successor and stay in touch with colleagues. These gestures convey your trustworthiness and enduring commitment to the company that contributed to your career growth.
In the delicate art of leveraging external job offers for a raise, careful planning, transparent communication, and a focus on mutual benefit can lead to a successful outcome, whether it results in a raise or a more fulfilling career path.