Whether entering a salary negotiation, managing a business partnership, or planning the next step in your career, understanding which negotiation tactics are right for the situation and for you can be key. But in an economic environment in which women are just as likely as men to ask for a raise but less likely to receive one, the prospect of negotiating during one’s career can be an intimidating one. (Harvard Business Review)

To this end, Propeller’s women-in-business outreach initiative — Propel Her — brought together a dynamic panel of women business leaders to discuss how you can help drive your career through successful negotiation strategies.

1. NEGOTIATING THE SALARY. Always negotiate.

Arguably, one of the most intuitive times to consider one’s negotiation approach is when discussing salary. Despite this, men and women given the opportunity to negotiate will often walk away from the negotiating table. Event panelist Allison Torpey, who is currently Director of People Strategy at Propeller, is shocked by how often people don’t negotiate their salary after receiving a first offer. She estimates this occurrence in her experience to be around 30 percent. “No matter what, always negotiate,” she said. “We expect you to.”

On the flip side, not all negotiation approaches are productive ones. Torpey said that one of the worst negotiation tactics someone can practice (next to not negotiating at all) is not being up front about their salary expectations. “We always ask folks about salary range toward the end of the interview process, and it’s frustrating when they agree to a range and then try to negotiate up above this.” Torpey added that it’s best to be honest about these ranges as it may save both parties effort and time if expectations are misaligned.


Panelist Jennifer Navarro-Marroquin — founder and co-founder of wellness companies Claiming Prosperity and Community Well, respectively — emphasized not only the importance of defining the right salary in preliminary negotiations but also using that opportunity to better understand and even define the role they are considering. “Having an open conversation is best,” she said. “If someone comes in with a certain skill-set but actually is applying for a job that isn’t a perfect fit for [those skills], sometimes just getting a chance to share what they see the role being can create the most opportunity on both ends.”

Panelist Sarah Wheeler, who leads global gift card strategy for Gap Inc., elaborated on the case for confirming your expectations for the role, whether that be around the job requirements, the PTO policy or start date. “You should have that conversation.,” she said. “What's the worst that can happen?” She added that when the role isn’t the right fit, no one is set up for success.


So once you have negotiated both your salary and your role, should you begin to de-prioritize the importance of negotiating? According to panelist Anna Huerta, Lead Game Designer at Zynga, not at all. Huerta’s negotiating approach became as relevant as ever as she found herself frustrated by the predefined structured career path (and associated pay) laid out for her and her fellow game designers. Her solution? Negotiating from “within the system” to change it.

Huerta said she did this by aligning herself with a general manager as an advocate who had the sway to help get her a seat at the table for important conversations impacting organization-wide policies like career paths and salary. She then partnered with stakeholders throughout her company to identify and give input on systemic career path and pay gaps as well as what opportunities existed to close them. “I’m a big advocate of being a part of the solution,” Huerta said.