In any male-dominated industry, women often have to work twice as hard for the same positions and the respect of their peers. From marketing departments to the legal field, women have been breaking the glass ceiling in terms of bringing more female empowerment to the workplace. Supporting women begins with taking a more forward approach to career goals and negotiations, showing prospective clients that you mean business.
Techniques for Empowering Women in the Workplace
Women have special difficulties when it comes to bargaining, starting with the fact that their actions are frequently perceived as “unlikeable.” Women also have the propensity to undervalue their value in the workplace and have been conditioned to shy away from aggressiveness, a crucial trait for a fruitful negotiation. Being ready for these talks is essential for women trying to establish themselves in the workplace since these barriers make bargaining more difficult yet vital. Any firm wishing to successfully assist its female personnel may do so by utilizing the three strategies listed below:
- Any industry can benefit from flexible working arrangements that take employees’ circumstances into account. Employers can improve the workplace for everyone by being flexible on in-office and at-home work arrangements. For instance, business leaders have discovered that greater flexibility can increase production and work-life balance for workers. Creating a less stressful atmosphere for all employees, whether through flexible working arrangements or flexible office hours, enables more inspiration, creativity, and self-assurance at work.
- Encourage diversification. Systems need to be made more hospitable and egalitarian across all sectors. We can address the underrepresentation of women in developing industries like cloud technology, engineering, data, and AI by encouraging more women to pursue careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math). Women must be represented at every level of the workforce, especially in C-Suite and corporate board roles, to create a workplace that reflects society. This calls for mentorship, financial assistance for leadership programs, and fair promotion procedures to support women at all professional phases. There must be a commitment to equal compensation for equal labor at the core of all we do.
- Parental support. With an increase in work-from-home positions, many women with children have been forced back into the traditional gendered role of primary caretaker while their partners return to work. Creating opportunities and access to childcare, although a seemingly lofty goal, can help even the playing field between men and women with children, allowing both the option to return to work without having to sacrifice their work time to care for children. Similarly, encouraging parental leave for both mothers and fathers can help even out childcare responsibilities by creating a more even split in determining which parent is at home caring for their child.
These goals are primarily tailored for executives, but for women in non-management positions, understanding these issues can be a foundational stepping stone for conversations with your boss about implementing these changes. For example, negotiating a pay increase for excellent work on a project, especially if receiving a lower pay rate than your male counterparts, can be a productive way to show management that they need to begin integrating a fair pay scale into their workplace. Having these influential discussions begins with knowing how to properly negotiate with upper management, as well as what issues need to be discussed.
Inspiration to Help Women Feel Confident in Their Negotiation Skills
Some women downplay their self-assurance to avoid coming across as excessively demanding, and many women have the propensity to undervalue themselves off the bat. In industries where males predominate, women frequently underestimate their earning potential. Women who experience undervaluation have a greater threshold for low income, are eager to labor for no pay to make ends meet, and believe that poverty has inherent worth. Business, not relationships or social position, is the focus of negotiations. The following includes ways to effectively advocate for yourself in workplace negotiations:
- Put a number on your achievements. Put a dollar amount on what you bring to the table at work. Did you organize three events that went well last quarter? Have you trained 25 new hires? A presentation you created may now be utilized by others. Make every effort to measure the outcomes of your job. If it is feasible to assign a monetary value to these achievements, do so.
- Document your success. When you have supporting documents, do not urge your manager to depend on recollection or to just assume you are being paid too little. For instance, you may print out salary data you obtained from a reputable website if you think your pay is below the market rate. You may want to save an email chain discussing your most recent job accomplishments if you think your merit-based raise is due. This paperwork serves as proof of your worth.
- Display development. Use any constructive criticism from your manager to demonstrate your development. For all industries, there is always room to improve on certain tasks and business operations, so showing growth by taking constructive feedback seriously is imperative for proving worth. Implement the advice and upgrade your abilities, then follow up ready to discuss moving forward in your career progression.
From asking for raises to communicating a necessary increase in performance, knowing how to properly negotiate and discuss these improvements is important for women in any field. Getting the respect you deserve from coworkers and management should be standard, especially when going into client meetings.
How Do These Skills Transfer Into Client Relationships?
A solid, mutually beneficial customer connection is the foundation of any flourishing firm, and being able to speak up in meetings is imperative for building these relationships. Consumers want to discover a company they can trust when seeking any service, and firms must be very aware of how they promote their services to prospective customers. Having a diversified bargaining team and speaking up for representation in client relationships is important for encouraging more female-led positions. For crucial negotiations, integrating these skills can be important for all client relationships:
- Be prepared. To make sure the appropriate subjects are brought up for discussion, you need time to prepare. Think in advance about how your unique selling points might assist in meeting a client’s urgent business demands. For the firm to take action for you without setting a precedent requiring them to take the same action for everyone else, it is crucial to emphasize how unique you are in the employment talks.
- Know when to speak first. It might be challenging to take the initiative because you should not start negotiating until you have been presented with a proper agreement. Further discussion may be required on the offer that is currently being considered as well as its conditions. For all client discussions, it is crucial to follow through with adequate planning and know what has to be stated and when. You cannot initiate action under certain circumstances, especially when entering into a first-time client meeting. When speaking to a superior about a client relationship you feel strongly about or one where your expertise carried your team, you would want to speak first in this situation.
- Know how to offer alternatives. More transactions may be won by bringing three bids to the table rather than just one. These simultaneous offerings can help encourage agreement. They transform the dialogue in client problem negotiations from a straightforward request for collaboration to a collaborative possibility of reaching an agreement. Deliver three packages, each focusing on a different problem that relates to the client’s interests but is simple to provide. Examples include the strategic projects you will prioritize, the timetable for doing so, and the success indicators. Salary, roles, obligations, exposure, adaptability, and the types of clients one deals with can also be up for discussion. Offering alternatives demonstrates your willingness to work with others and your ability to come up with ideas that will improve the business and you.
Negotiation with clients is based solely on the understanding your company has of that client, and taking ownership of this relationship can show a dedication to this important part of maintaining a healthy flow of business. When looking for opportunities to show initiative, especially when competing with male coworkers, fostering these meaningful client relationships, as well as proving you have the influencing skills to properly guide them through any deal-making process, is imperative for creating a credible basis of skills for all women looking to enhance their negotiation skills.
Negotiation Training for Women
Competing for a spot in any male-dominated sector is stressful and can cause women to work exceedingly harder for their positions when compared to their male peers. Fortunately, negotiation training can benefit women looking to further their careers, exemplify their workplace talents, and increase their presence in client relationships. At Shapiro Negotiations Institute, our goal is to uplift anyone seeking the skills to help them advance their negotiating skills, especially women, helping them find the expertise needed to assert themselves in their careers. We offer a wide range of negotiation training, so contact us today to receive more information on our programs and curriculum.