It needn’t be scary, the conference heard
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Asking for a raise can be a daunting task, but as insurance professionals attending the Insurance Business’ Women in Insurance Canada Summit, it’s important to know your worth.
“For many, going to a boss to negotiate a raise can be an intimidating conversation,” says Lauren Ritchie, a certified career and high-performance coach.
“However, it doesn’t have to be a nerve-wracking conversation to talk to a superior, especially if you take gradual steps to increase your confidence.”
During the conference in Toronto, Ritchie detailed how to focus on the qualities that make you eligible for a raise while also giving tips on how to approach this conversation with confidence.
“Courage is dangerous”
The insurance industry has traditionally been known for its risk awareness, something that has kept it in business for hundreds of years. However, the simple act of talking to a superior about a pay rise is an act of courage and it “takes a risk”, according to Ritchie.
“When we embrace courage, we gradually increase our confidence,” said Ritchie.
For women, this fearless attitude is necessary, especially since they make an average of 16.1% less than their male counterparts according to statistics from the Canadian Women’s Foundation.
“The problem is really with women demanding what they deserve,” Ritchie said.
“Pointing to the evidence to support our finding”
Working in a data-heavy industry, insurance professionals may find themselves equipped with the tools to negotiate a high-stakes salary negotiation, even if they haven’t yet. known.
Evidence is key to being able to advocate for a raise successfully and convincingly, and raise hunters need to be able to point to successes from their careers.
However, as time progresses, the memory of these professional victories can become a little muddy.
Ritchie recommends carving out an hour each week, preferably on a Friday, to write down your accomplishments, no matter how big or small.
“We’re just focused on the milestones that have been achieved, but the little things are just as important,” he said.
Ritchie provides a 10-point checklist of questions to answer each week when recording any accomplishments — they are as follows:
- What did I do well this week?
- What am I most proud of accomplishing this week?
- Do I have significant goals or milestones?
- Have I received positive feedback from clients, partners or sponsors?
- Have I made any progress on tasks or any challenging projects?
- Did I contribute to cost savings or improve productivity in any way?
- Do I take on more responsibilities or tasks?
- Have I shown growth or improvement in any specific skills?
- Did I receive recognition or appreciation for my efforts?
- Did I solve any difficult challenges or situations effectively?
Not every answer has to be a win, but you can also write down any areas of improvement that you can identify and try to fix for the next coming weeks.
When to ask for a raise (and when not to)
Determining when is the right time for a raise can be difficult, but Ritchie provides some pointers to keep in mind.
“You never question when you get negative feedback,” he said.
In addition, if you have to take more work due to the lack of work and it continues for a period of time, Ritchie argues that you should not ask for more money, but instead ask for more support to alleviate the some of this added stress.
However, when that right time comes to negotiate a salary, there are three guiding principles that should be factored in.
First and foremost, go into any conversation with a superior writing down your talking points and practice recording yourself first, “you don’t want to continue this kind of discussion,” he said. Ritchie.
Second, getting to know the person you’re talking to, whether it’s a boss or an HR person, is key. “You want to thank them for taking the time to talk to you and show appreciation for how they’ve helped you in your career along the way,” Ritchie said.
Then comes ambition, which is asking for what you want and using the successes you have recorded as well as the sense of courage you have adopted to strengthen a convincing argument.
Although it takes guts to get through this often stressful situation, it’s important to think about the example you’re setting for those in a similar position or professionals just entering the field.
“You’re not only empowering yourself but you’re setting the stage and inspiration for everyone around you,” Ritchie said. “You have a responsibility not only to yourself, but to all the women in the room and beyond to pave the way for a more inclusive world.”
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