Negotiating higher pay, promotions, better training, more flexibility or just better working conditions is not always easy. The global pandemic has caused a major changes to our work life making us reassess our environments.

Our panel discussed the ways in which we can have these difficult conversations to improve your terms and conditions right where you are and equally, how to know when its time to leave and move on to a different opportunity. Here are some of their top tips:

Reach out and speak to people – However uncomfortable you might feel about work, it’s always a good idea to speak to someone about it, either your line manager or a trusted colleague. “Don’t let it fester and build up because it will be to your own detriment. Speaking openly about it is the only way your employer can investigate and have open, honest, and frank conversations about work.” – Sophie Tighe

Don’t burn your bridges – What is the optimum way to move forward? “If you’re leaving for a challenge or an opportunity, don’t burn your bridges. You might meet your colleagues again down the line, so keep your connections and be mindful of your exit and how your approach it. When you’re moving forward and looking for change, people tend to go for the job and not the company culture. It’s important to assess both.” – Sarah Brown

Recognise your worth – “Sometimes as employees we don’t realise the power that we have. Agencies need talent to work.” It is important to remember this power dynamic when you are negotiating a higher salary. Assessing your workplace environment is crucial to ensure you are getting paid your worth. During difficult conversations, remember to not completely give your power away.

Make notes and have evidence – “I was constantly talking to my boss about what I wanted. The key thing is backing it up. Not just going in and saying you want a promotion, explain what you are doing is helping them and you are going above your job and role title. As women we need to know our own value and worth when asking for a pay rise, even if it feels uncomfortable.” – Laura Rutkowski

Choosing your timing is very important – “Asking for a promotion or pay rise doesn’t have to be at the time of your annual review. If you’re setting the news agenda or have just got an amazing feature, then it’s time to make your move. Equally, if you’ve just lost a story to a competitor then it might not be the best time. Remember to take your opportunities where you can.” – Paula Dale.

There are lots of different reasons to leave a job and move on but resignations is not the only answer. Our panel shared their stories and what helped them navigate challenging work environments and difficult conversations. If you’re thinking of asking for a promotion or leaving for another opportunity, what factors are you looking for? Let us know your thoughts.