Maxine Fennell


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In everyday life we negotiate without even realising it – for example, with family, friends and colleagues. If you have an appraisal coming up and...

In everyday life we negotiate without even realising it – for example, with family, friends and colleagues.

If you have an appraisal coming up and you would like to have a conversation about your salary, first be prepared and prove your value! Make sure you do your research and set out a plan – this helps you to articulate confidently what you are looking to achieve,

Firstly understand your worth and decide on the lowest figure of what you would accept as an hourly rate. Do your research and find out what your peers are receiving which corresponds to the level of knowledge and experience you have, and the position advertised. Make sure you’re also taking into consideration the demographics of where your clinic/ hospital is located.

Prepare an agenda of the points to be discussed and send this to your employer in advance – this can also apply if you have been offered a new position and would like to negotiate points that were not discussed during interview stage.

How should you approach the conversation?

1. Do your research. Figure out what other people are paid for similar roles. Look at newspaper ads, call agencies, use the internet. Are you paid less? Are you paid the same as other employees in similar roles? 

2. Make a list of your key achievements over the past year or so.

3. Arrange a meeting in advance and give your employer some idea about what you would like to discuss.

4. Think about what you are asking from your employer’s point of view. Why do you deserve a pay rise? Provide facts that justify and complement what you are asking for.

5. Do not use blackmail. For example, if your employer thinks that you are not ready for a pay rise, do not threaten to hand in your notice or use emotional blackmail.

There are many courses available to nurses which lead to qualifications that are recognised and valued across the country. Adding additional duties and extending your scope of practice is a great incentive for employers to increase your pay. 

Do not burn bridges. If you haven't been able to successfully negotiate the pay rise you wanted, you may decide that you feel undervalued by your employer – but remember that you can always ask your employer how you can improve. You can then book a review in three to six months’ time and try again.

Top tips
Remember that negotiations involve give and take, and you need to be constructive, professional and have clarity in communication. Key things to remember include:

  • Be honest! If what is being offered is not what you want, it will have a negative impact on you and your work – and therefore the rest of the business – if it is not addressed.
  • Remember the goals of the employer and business as well as your own.
  • Evaluate your expectations and priorities.
  • Create mutual benefit opportunities.
  • Remain calm and objective.
  • Remember to work towards the common goal – the win-win.