Episode 90: Advance Your Career with Kelli Thompson


June 16th, 2023

38 mins 28 secs

Your Hosts

About this Episode

Welcome to Kelli Thompson! Kelli is a speaker, coach, author, and HR executive who left the corporate world to pursue her passion for helping women advance their careers. She is driven to help more women make it to the board room, advance their careers, and bring their best, most authentic selves to the office. Today we’re going to be focusing on talking with Kelli about the very important topic of salary negotiation.

Kelli’s career started in banking, where in her journey in HR and leadership development she noticed that most of leadership were men. She found joy as an HR executive in helping people figure out paths to develop their careers. She then worked for a tech company where once again she found joy in helping with career development. She liked that so much so that she worked for a consultant who specialized in career development and broke out on her own to do one-on-one leadership coaching -- which also included less travel.

We asked Kelli her thoughts on Lean In and how she feels about women’s journey into the boardroom. Kelli agreed with us that the “do it all” idea can burn women out -- especially since women tend to take on more unpaid and unpromotable administrative work at work and take on more at home. We all agreed that being an executive of any gender requires a ton of support at home and in life so that you can dump what’s not necessary, doesn’t give joy, and you need to delegate and create boundaries.

In order to grow in the executive ranks, Kelli asks us how can we show up and do what we want to do without feeling resentful.

We ask Kelli how she coaches a burned out person who wants to get ahead. She said they usually are ahead -- but that it’s not sustainable. She first asks where in their life they feel most resentful. They eliminate just that and focus on what needs to be addressed so they can focus.

We ask about when salary should be discussed in the job search -- up front as early as possible. And salary transparency helps! The issue with salary transparency in the remote first world is that the range is inclusive of all areas, which means that the range can include the salary in Omaha and NYC, which won't be the same. What that does is encourage transparency in the conversation, but also, Kelli says to look up jobs listed locally to know what your range is. And if the range is less than you want, there’s no harm in having an initial conversation and seeing if there is any flexibility. That said, if the job is being upleveled, you want to know where that “lower level” work will go -- it may still sit with you.

To get the most out of salary negotiation, you want to talk about what you bring to the company (not your personal needs), the skills you bring, and what the company can get from your skills (increase revenue, lower expense, reduce risk, lead change) in order to demonstrate what you’re asking for. And if the range is more than you were expecting, keep that poker face! Just say, “sounds good” and remember, that initial number is still negotiable. Get what you’re worth!

What’s negotiable in a job offer? Probably not the benefits plan, but sometimes you can adjust the boundaries of hybrid/remote situations and often learning and development opportunities. By understanding the benefits packages you’ll know what you can/can’t negotiate.

Usually that first offer isn’t the ceiling. You can try for more. The worst thing they can say is no.

Good people get hired, promoted, and raises even in a bad economy. Good people also get let go. Show your value and make sure your skills are what your company and other companies need.

The best negotiators, even in a down economy, acknowledge the environment and showed what they can bring. The best negotiators are kind, direct, and show their value. Also, don’t forget that we learn a lot about you during the negotiation process, but also you learn a lot about the company by how they behave during the offer process.

What does confidence look like in salary negotiations? It looks like trusting yourself.