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June 9, 2021

Sarah’s Negotiation

Sarah has been with her company for nearly 20 years. When her boss left his role to temporarily support an initiative another department, Sarah was asked to take on additional responsibilities until he returned. A few months later, her boss’s new assignment became permanent. For nearly a year, Sarah performed her increased workload without a change to her title or compensation.

While in her expanded role, Sarah attended a Worthmore workshop, which caused her to reflect on her own situation.   This arrangement was unsustainable, and she had already started interviewing elsewhere.  However, the workshop helped her realize she was a valuable member of the team, and that carrying those additional responsibilities, was enabling her boss to fulfill other needs for the company. 

Although she knew she deserved recognition and support, making the ask was uncomfortable.  She kept thinking, “maybe this is pointless…maybe this is the wrong time…maybe this won’t land well.” Nonetheless, Sarah set up the conversation. She communicated her value, putting Kathryn’s ‘communal negotiation’ strategy into play. Two working days later, she learned that her base salary would increase by a substantial percentage, and that she would be given additional support.

This was a HUGE success for Sarah. Beyond the compensation, she felt valued by her company’s willingness to listen and act. When asked if she would do anything differently, she had just one thought: “I wish I had done it sooner.”

Sarah’s story doesn’t end there. A month later, a female colleague in another department asked about openings in Sarah’s org. The woman’s job grade had shifted after a reorganization, and she felt undervalued at her new level. Sarah knew the woman was a strong performer, and the department wouldn’t want to lose her. Sarah shared her recent success and encouraged her colleague to have a conversation using the gender-specific strategies laid out in Worthmore’s workshop.

The colleague went to her boss and communicated the value she brought to the department. She left the conversation with an increase in job grade and pay, and having made the decision to stay.

It took only 5 minutes for Sarah to adjust her role to something she was excited about again – the most challenging part figuring out how to ask.



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