Think carefully through your employer’s choice as you get set to negotiate over salary. Put yourself in their shoes and keep on asking yourself whether it sounds reasonable, fair, and appropriate from their point of view. Just because you want more money, it may not be reasonable from your employer’s point of view to pay it to you. Think about how your boss could explain your requested salary increase to his or her boss in a convincing way.
Ask yourself the following questions to test your BATNA versus your employer’s: (1) Do they really need you (as opposed to someone just like you who may be out in the job market and anxious to take your job)? (2) Would it take a long time to get someone else up to speed to do what you do? (3) Would operations suffer in some tangible way if you were to leave? (4) Is it impossible for your employer to get someone with a resume/skill/experience set similar to yours at something like the salary you now receive? (5) Do you have very attractive job opportunities elsewhere? (6) Would you easily get another job at a better rate of pay and working conditions? (7) Would you likely be happier working somewhere else? (8) Could you easily go for an extended period without another job if you had to?
If 1 to 8 are all “yes,” then you can adopt an aggressive negotiating approach because your BATNA is good and your employer’s is bad. If 1 to 4 are “yes,” but 5 to 8 are “no,” then you should have a high aspiration level (because your employer has a bad BATNA), but you should adopt a less risky strategy (because your BATNA is not very attractive). If 1 to 4 are “no,” then beware because your employer may not waste a lot of time negotiating with you—it would be easier for them to ax you and get someone else who is not a pain in the butt whining about their compensation!
Source: “Negotiating What You’re Worth”
Original Publication: HBS Working Knowledge
Subject: Benefits Negotiation