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2020 started with much promise for many. It was the year that was going to make a difference, a year of change. What did you plan to accomplish this year? Perhaps you thought about negotiating a higher salary, gaining a much-deserved promotion or venturing out for a new leadership opportunity. Perhaps like many, your plans have halted or changed as the world was turned upside down with the onset of the COVID19 pandemic.

While the pandemic has changed how many businesses operate and scale, one thing that hasn’t changed is the need for qualified, capable, results-driven, empathetic and innovative leadership talent. More than ever before leaders are being challenged and relied on to rally their teams, deliver results and keep businesses open in this new normal. While there are people being laid off, many businesses are taking this opportunity to hire strong talent, including leaders. As you contemplate what that means for you, you may be asking yourself two very important questions. Are you being paid what you’re worth and most importantly, what can you do about it?

Are You Being Paid What You’re Worth?

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Oftentimes people use tenure and qualifications to determine their value and worth. You may be one of those employees making the mistake that because you’ve dedicated so much time, energy, and earned all the right certifications and qualifications for your job, you have earned your right to a raise or promotion. But a pandemic such as this can be a great equaliser. The tables have turned and now there are competitors in the market younger, more educated, more resourceful and hungrier than you. If that’s the case, how do you find out if you are being paid what you’re really worth?

Evaluate Your Current Compensation

If you have worked with your company for a few years, that may be long enough to learn more about your company’s compensation culture, including it’s rituals and practices. If your company publishes salary bands and other compensation information, you may be able to easily assess where you are, where you would like to be and the value your company puts on your skill sets.

However, if your company is not as transparent, perhaps you could schedule a sit-down with human resources, your compensation resource or your immediate manager to better understand what factors are taken into consideration in their compensation design process. You may also want to understand the role, relationship and the direct or indirect impact of your performance on your compensation. Coupled with accessing industry and regional pay and compensation information, these resources will provide you with the opportunity to gauge how your current compensation compares to your expectation and the regional and industry assigned value to your skills and experiences.

Evaluate Your Current Market

Job markets have been affected in various ways by the pandemic. Some industries may experience greater negative effects including those imposed by the new norms of social distancing, increased work from home positions, and drastic changes to the way the company and the industry are doing its daily business. If you are in these heavily affected industries, you will find market competition reaching new heights, and companies will be looking to attract and retain talent who can provide the most value and deliver under pressure, with very little direction and support.

If you are only using the current market to determine your worth, you could be making a critical mistake. While the current market forces can impact your ability to negotiate your ideal compensation, the market is often a reflection of a point in time and does not translate to your value and worth to a company. While you want to be aware of the current market compensation trends, these should be used as guidelines. A better strategy in using current market data would be to look at the most recent hires in your ideal role in your ideal company or a similar company. Review how each of these candidate profiles compares to yours, look at the value you will deliver and use this as a gauge to determine if you really are being paid comparatively.

While there are many ways to determine what you should be paid, sadly, many people refuse to challenge their current pay and take charge of their compensation story. While what you are currently paid compared to what you want to be paid can be several thousand, or tens of thousands of dollars apart, the truth is, the only person stopping you from being paid what you are worth, is you!

Take Charge of Your Comp Story

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Believe it or not, you do have the final say in your compensation package. While decision-makers will craft and create from simple to truly extravagant compensation packages, you decide if you want to negotiate, accept or walk away from an offer, raise or counter offer. But if you are to ensure that you are not leaving money on the table, you will need to step up and take charge of your compensation story.

Ask For What You Are Worth

So many people want a promotion and the increase in compensation that comes along with it, but fail to step up, speak up and apply for it. If you wait for your employer to recognize you and compensate you for what you do, you may wait in vain. Instead, promote yourself! If you are demonstrating mastery of your role, executing well on stretch projects and leaning in with your team and senior leadership on how you can make their life easier, it may be time to have an honest and open conversation about your compensation. But before you do, ensure that you have documented and prepared your conversation to be based on the value you bring and not only what you feel you are entitled to.

Increase Your Visibility, and Become Comfortable with Standing Out

Does your employer truly see and feel the results you deliver to the business? Are you making it easy for your team, and leadership, to attribute your impact and influence to your team’s and the organization’s success? When it comes time to decide on how to best present yourself to your employer or supervisor, many people decide to go the safe route and tell them what they want to hear. Step into the successful, powerful and accomplished leader you are and seize opportunities to share your accomplishments and results, especially in clear view of senior decision-makers. Being visible is very different from being arrogant and visible performers get paid. Will you continue to let your corporate invisibility prevent you from being paid what you are worth?

As an Executive and Leadership coach, I know how difficult it can be for leaders, especially for women leaders, to talk about and negotiate to be paid what they’re worth. In the ‘Rewired for Success Program for Women Leaders’, I teach strategies to help leaders expand their leadership skills, improve their executive presence, and use effective tools to position themselves for promotions and negotiate for bigger compensation packages. Are you struggling with determining what you are worth and taking the steps to get higher pay? I can help. Schedule a no-cost consult at https://bit.ly/drsanchez-application-consult

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