The art of negotiating your compensation package with Henna Pryor, Workplace Performance Expert

Don’t let the conversation about salary happen for the first time in a salary review conversation. That is the equivalent of going to the gym and picking up a 200-pound barbel when you haven’t been to the gym in the last five years.

– Henna Pryor

Salary negotiation: 2 words that send shivers up the spines of even the most ambitious high performers. On this episode of the On Work and Revolution Podcast, Debbie Goodman talks with Henna Pryor, Workplace Performance Expert and highly sought after Executive Coach, to discuss strategies and tactics for closing the pay gap and advocating for what you’re worth in the marketplace.“It isn’t bragging if you’ve done it.” This episode teaches you how to effectively collaborate with your boss to get the compensation you deserve and set you up for long-term career success.

Debbie & Henna discuss:

✓ Why negotiating salary packages is prickly and awkward prickly, particularly for women.
✓ Why giving up being one of the best executive recruiters on the East Coast was the scariest thing Henna has done.
✓ How to overcome the stigma of self-promotion.
✓ How to prepare for a salary review conversation.
✓ What other elements of a compensation package, besides salary, can be put on the table?

About our guest, Henna Pryor:

Henna Pryor, PCC is a highly sought-after Workplace Performance Expert. She’s an award-winning keynote speaker, trainer, and executive facilitator and coach. Her clients call her their “secret weapon for impossible change,” an honor she wears proudly.

Helpful Links:

Henna’s website:
Follow Henna on LinkedIn

Open for Full Episode Transcript

Open for Full Episode Transcript


Henna Pryor

Mon, Oct 17, 2022 9:04PM • 29:09


conversation, accomplishments, henna, people, negotiate, women, salary, muscle, mindset, salary increase, company, raise, package, pay, talk, promotional, share, regular cadence, promotions, point


Debbie Goodman, Henna Pryor


Debbie Goodman  00:05

Welcome to On Work and Revolution, where we talk about what is shaking up in the world of work right now. And how we can make work life, suck less. For people who know me. You know, I’m always aiming for amazing workplace. But there are some days when suckless seems just fine. I’m your host, Debbie Goodman, and today we have as our guest, Henna Pryor. Henna and I share a common background, Henna spent 14 years in the executive search industry, before transitioning into her current role as workplace performance experts. She is executive coach extraordinaire, and an award winning speaker. She’s just added TEDx, to her list of illustrious speaking stages that she’s graced with her presence. She has been featured in all of the top business publications, including Forbes, Fast Company, many, many more. And she presents and facilitates sessions with companies like Google workday, Johnson and Johnson long list of companies. Henna is one of the first people I have come across who is both a CPA and a PCC and I love acronyms, but I’m gonna explain what that means. It’s a certified public accountant, and a professional certified coach through the ICF, which is the International Coaching Federation, which is probably why she is so highly sought after all of this is to let you know that our guest today, Henna knows her stuff. Okay, she’s a proper expert. And you need need to when she gives advice you need to listen. So today, we’re going to be talking to Henna about the very prickly, challenging, thorny, awkward matter of negotiating salary packages, particularly women negotiating their salary packages, and you’re going to want to listen all the way to the end of this. So welcome, Henna.


Henna Pryor  02:07

Thank you so much for having me. And I love out of the gate that you used the word awkward to describe what it feels like to have to have these conversations because that is the perfect word. And it’s one that I use a lot when we talk about tough conversations in business and in life in general. So can’t wait.


Debbie Goodman  02:24

You and I were both interviewers, we spent many years interviewing people, and we’re always trying to understand people’s career decisions and moves. And so I have to ask, How come the transition from a long and very, very unbelievably successful career in executive search to what you’re doing now,


Henna Pryor  02:43

it was the scariest thing I ever did. You know, I left my staffing and search career at the height of my career, things were going very well. You know, income was good, I had a great quality of life, I was working from home well before the world started doing so you know, I was uniquely working from home. And I’ll tell you that it really boils down to this one truth in a job in executive search and staffing, you are all day every day encouraging others to take professional risks that would help them meet their full potential. And there was a point for several years where while I was successful, and while I enjoyed it a little, I knew that I was made to do more. And it was fear. And, you know, the unknowing the uncertainty that was keeping me right where I was, and I owed it to myself to follow my own advice, and play into a bigger potential that I knew I was capable of having. So the whisperings of you know, being more in the professional development space, they were strong. And finally, at some point, I quieted myself long enough to listen, and I made the jump. Wow.


Debbie Goodman  03:50

Well, that is definitely very brave and courageous. I think I’ve been doing what I do for like, way too long. And fortunately, I have the opportunity to extend my range into different areas and, you know, do creative projects like this as well. But congratulations on taking you up. And it seems to be working out for you. So well done.


Henna Pryor  04:08

It is working out beautifully. If anyone is on the fence about what’s next, I think you’ve basically summed it up perfectly, there’s more than one way to do it, right? You can take a leap or no one says that, you know, your nine to five or whatever it may be has to be the thing that helps you scratch creative itches or, you know, explore new parts of your range. There’s many ways to do and I love that we’re both doing it in different ways.


Debbie Goodman  04:30

I first encountered you on a webinar where you’re speaking about negotiating salary packages, which can be a challenging thing in itself for anyone at any time actually. But it’s significantly more challenging for women than men. Why is that?


Henna Pryor  04:48

First things first, let’s get tactical that’s a little bit different around the world but especially in the US there’s legislation around pay equity, you know, equal work for equal pay, but there is Isn’t accountability for it, and the enforcement is very inconsistent. So I just want to call out out of the gate, you know, one of the reasons it can be difficult is no one’s feet are held to the flame to make sure that it happens. So it’s a little bit of a systemic problem just to start, we can zoom out there, let’s just say that you do actually come and say, Hey, I’m doing the same work as this gentleman over here, and I’m not receiving the same pay the onus to actually bring that case and bring all the information is still on the woman to you know, provide the evidence provide the follow up, oftentimes, we just decide it’s not worth it, which is a no, and it’s a big deterrent, from fighting for equal pay, right to have that conversation. So I think it’s just important to know that out of the gate, right, that’s something that we are climbing against when it comes to this conversation. And the other reason is just there isn’t often commitment from the top. So there has been data now from companies across industries across sizes that they say they want equal pay for equal work, they want women to feel valued for the work that they do. And yet the messages that are implicitly sent down is, you know, you will get these positions, these promotions, these raises these, you know, salary jumps, based on things like who’s the noisiest, who works the longest, who is in the office. And disproportionately, especially in the last few years in the pandemic, women have been set back from these issues, you know, many left the workforce in droves, and others were the first to raise their hand to be more flexible with their schedule to not take on the additional overtime to opt for the remote work arrangement. And so now with a lot of these new nuances, we’re even bigger on that delta on that gap between feeling like we can even ask, so we’ve taken the concessions and decided, you know, that’s good enough. And it’s really deepened that ability to ask for what we want,


Debbie Goodman  07:07

institutionally. And in terms of the infrastructure that we have. And first of all, in order to bring a case around or even raise the issue, we’re not even talking about getting litigious here, we’re just talking about having the conversation, to have the conversation, it requires a lot of courage. But regardless of whether we are saying, Well, I’m not being paid equally to my counterpart, who happens to be male, the conversation itself, that women struggle more than men to talk about what they’re worth, essentially, or asking for a pay raise, or negotiating the terms of their financial compensation, at any point, whether they’re a valued employee at an existing company, or if they are perhaps looking at a new career opportunity, and something’s been put in front of them. And now they want to, you know, they want to negotiate that. What I’ve understood is that from our prior conversation, is that this, this seems to be like a mindset issue. So So I want to understand a little more about that.


Henna Pryor  08:11

Yes, very much. So. So yeah, before we even get down the road of pay equity, just why can’t we have this conversation comfortably? Right now? How do we even bring it up? So you’re exactly right. It’s it’s heavily rooted in mindset that women in general have been conditioned to have over many, many years. So I’ll give you a few examples of the mindset adjustments that we need. One is, women have been historically reluctant to claim their accomplishments. We don’t like to get as loud and proud as we ought to, about the things that we’ve done. Women tend to take this stance of, well, this is just part of the job. You know, I’m just meeting expectations. Isn’t this what I’m supposed to do? You know, and so as a result, we don’t with any regularity, for sure, vocalize the things that we’ve done? If we do, and this is even an if if we do, it’s only at review time, or it’s only when the discussion is even on the table to consider salary. But the mindset shift that needs to occur is this sort of self advocacy, this sort of claiming of our accomplishments of our wins of our successes, is not a once a year or twice a year activity. It’s a how do we build in comfort? How do we build the muscle of courage to do this on a weekly basis on a monthly basis in a regular cadence? So that come salary negotiation time? This isn’t the first time that leadership is hearing about all these incredible things that you’ve done. And that is a muscle to build over time?


Debbie Goodman  09:47

Certainly, I mean, I’m imagining that some listeners may be having like cold shivers at the thought of having to self promote, you know, self advocacy, as you call it is often frowned on it’s you know, there’s some sort of Little stigma associated with being over promoting, and sometimes unfairly, the gender bias towards a woman promoting her accomplishments versus a man in the environment that we know we know from. There’s so much literature on it, there’s so much data on it, that we don’t have to regurgitate that particular part of the conversation. But nevertheless, the thought of going, Oh, my goodness, now I need to actually tell people, first of all, acknowledge to myself the accomplishments that I’m making, and then share that in a way that I feel okay with that I’m not going to be looked upon in a way that my colleagues and peers stocked frowning on me or thinking about me as a shameless self promoter. That in itself is a I mean, we’re not even talking about the package piece, we’re talking about just the standing up and saying, Hey, these are my accomplishments.


Henna Pryor  10:50

Here’s a hard truth that everyone needs to hear. And I actually learned this from the CEO of a company called Scindia, which is a pay equity software company. She was citing a study that was done, the academics name is slipping me. But essentially, the study said overconfidence is not good for performance. So overconfidence is not good for performance. But it is required for promotions and raises for promotions and raises, we have to be able to muster it, and call on it, even if it doesn’t serve us the rest of the time. It doesn’t serve us the rest of the time. While we’re


Debbie Goodman  11:27

on this topic. I mean, you coach, female executives, and people who are at the top of their careers in, you know, having the language to actually speak about their accomplishments. Can you share us sort of a little tidbit? Or a tip on how to actually do that?


Henna Pryor  11:43

Yes. So you use the word earlier of self promotion. And this is, you know, the biggest fear, I think of women, especially when they think about advocating and talking about their own accomplishments and talking about why they’re worth it. Right? Am I going to come across as self promotional, so I’m going to share two tactical things. First, you know, this is another, you know, if you can let this wash over you and really repeat this to yourself as a mantra, this is one that I use very regularly. It’s not bragging, if you’ve done it, you are not being self promotional, you are not bragging, if you’ve done it, it’s a statement of fact, you are just showing people what has occurred, you are bringing visibility to a statement of fact. So first, you know, get, you know, get over this idea that sharing visibility into the projects you’ve completed is self promotional, especially in this increasingly hybrid and decentralized world. People don’t see it unless you tell them


Debbie Goodman  12:42

100%. So partly making sure that you actually have the space to talk about it, and then making sure that you do communicate it. And then as you say, if you’ve done it, then it’s a statement of fact, why, why Why hold back,


Henna Pryor  12:57

which brings us to part two, which is, you know, you don’t need to share what you’ve done without context, right? It’s not just Hey, big victory on this project. Have a nice day. Right? That I get that that feels self promotional. But what you can and should do is, take the thing, the accomplishment, let’s say you have three accomplishments that you’re excited to share with your manager, or you’re trying to keep, you know, that person up to speed in the spirit of making sure that these things are shared throughout the year, make sure to include how those accomplishments helped Big Picture Company goals, or helped your department right? What was the accomplishments, contribution? Essentially, what was the accomplishments? Help to your boss, right? What did you What did you create? What did you achieve for your team for your company, and frame it through that lens, help your manager understand the value that you brought to the org through that accomplishment? So you want to make sure you frame it with enough of the background story and the context so that they understand ah, this is a big deal, right? This is something that we really value from this person,


Debbie Goodman  14:05

We spoke about how being able to talk about your accomplishments, and your wins is something that needs to happen regularly, weekly, monthly, at a regular cadence and not just at the time of the performance review, because that has an impact on mindset already. And so if we have to continue the conversation around mindset to the mindset that that holds us back from being able to talk about why we should do a package increase or why we’re do some kind of promotion. Are you saying that part of that is because we’re not very comfortable in speaking about our accomplishments and are worse regularly? It’s a muscle we don’t exercise frequently enough.



Yeah, I view it exactly how you’ve just described which is an untrained unconditioned muscle. So what I often advise you know, my coaching clients, my group coaching clients is don’t let the conversation about salary happen for the first time in a salary review conversation. That is literally the equivalent of going to the gym after never having gone in the last five years, and picking up a 200 pound barbell. It’s going to hurt a lot, right? So practice the reps ahead of those conversations in small ways, in a team meeting, you know, try to find little opportunities to practice sharing an accomplishment or a little opportunity, maybe with a peer instead of a leader to talk about salary related things. Right, maybe what it’s about how to talk about your next bonus cycle coming up. Practice in smaller, low stakes situations, so that your mindset muscle becomes more conditioned, more comfortable in those types of conversations. So when the main event comes, this isn’t an untrained muscle, this is a muscle that’s had some experience with these conversations. Otherwise, we’re trying to push through a wall of resistance, a wall of friction, when those small opportunities for practice can break that wall down.


Henna Pryor  14:43

A mindset, partly exercising this muscle, which enables the feeling of self worth as well as the practice in using the language because sometimes we think it’s the language that we don’t necessarily have at the tip of our tongue. And, and sometimes I think some people, some women, some Korean moms, in particular, sometimes come in with an A feeling of I should just be grateful to have this job where it’s a nice company, and I like my colleagues. And you know, the work is good. And so I should just be grateful for what I have. And so I’m a little nervous about shaking this boat. Because what if that could be seen negatively? And then all of a sudden, I’m no longer seen favorably by my boss or my colleagues. Is that an element of the fear that creeps in


Henna Pryor  16:50

very much so it’s tied to our innate fear of losing approval? Right. You know, many people in general, but especially women still have this desire to be people pleasers. You know, we care a lot what others think we care a lot about how we’re perceived. And so actually, in my TEDx, I talk a lot about this, you know, we reach this sort of gap, that we are, you know, in this state of wanting approval, wanting to make our bosses happy wanting to make our peers like us. And then on the other side of that gap, is everything we want. Right, as everything we want, we see it, we know that there’s a huge salary that we deserve, we see the promotion over there. But we have this false idea that it’s going to be this nice, breezy Cakewalk to the other side of the gap. When in reality, we have to sort of mentally first understand that there are going to be periods where we need to jump, right, where we need to embrace the discomfort and go into a conversation going. So you know, here’s my own practice, self talk that I have in difficult conversations, I literally will say to myself going into it, Hannah, this isn’t going to feel very good. But if you care more about that, than you do worrying about what someone is going to think if you try something, then you need to be willing to sit in the discomfort. And the reality is, and this is something we talk about a lot as well is humans tend to catastrophize with very good at catastrophizing. If I make this request to my boss, he’s going to think I’m crazy. He’s going to think, How dare she asked for so much money? How dare she bring this request to me? You know, this is what we do. We create these stories, these narratives and they cement themselves into our brain as though their truth when the reality 95% of the time is, if they can’t do it or don’t want to do it. They will just say so


Debbie Goodman  18:47

catastrophizing kind of goes a little further it goes from, I’m going to ask for something that might not be received so well. And then the next thing I’m fired and we’re on the breadline, where I’m collecting unemployment. So you no one goes there in a heartbeat. Okay, so there’s work to do on mindset. And then there are some tactics, one of which is the exercising of the muscle to talk about one’s accomplishments regularly, but what else? How else can one prepare for this actual conversation around a compensation increase? And I want to add another lens to that, in the context right now, where we find ourselves in an economy that is starting to quiver. And we’re hearing about layoffs and the markets are jittery, and employment and where as companies were holding on to people for dear life, literally six months ago, there’s been a shift in tone around employee power. Here we have a listener who goes I’m up for a salary increase. I really need this inflation, blah, blah, all the things and I’m gonna go And I’ve exercised my self worth muscle. I’ve been talking about my my accomplishments. But I’m still quivering in my boots and my catastrophizing possibly, realistically or not, that I could be the next one out the door. But I really need the salary increase. So how do we do this? Hannah?


Henna Pryor  20:22

I love the framing. And I think these are important considerations, right? I think it would be naive to not consider the moment in time that we live in so few things I would share. So first, I’ll share tactically, two things that I think are important to do all the time, regardless of economy. And then I’ll speak to something that’s unique to maybe the moment that we’re in. So first things first is when you’re sitting across the table from someone having a salary discussion, you really want to invite that other person to be a collaborator in that discussion. So I love Columbia, Professor Alexandra Carter, she tries to avoid this idea of it’s not, you know, trench warfare, where it’s, I’m gonna say something and you’re gonna say something, you know, we’re not we’re not playing ping pong, right, we’re need to go into this thinking we’re having a collaborative conversation. And one specific way you can do that is, think less about the declarations and assertions that you want to make? And think more about? What are some of the right questions I can ask. Right? So example could be something like, you know, understanding we had this time on the calendar to talk about my salary. You know, before we dive into specifics, you know, how are you feeling about salary reviews? Right now? What is the tone of the company? What is the tone of the C suite as it relates to raises in this moment, do some investigation, collect some data, so that you kind of know where you’re starting from a footing standpoint, before you even begin building your case? So that’s number one. Number two is what works best always, is when you frame what you are trying to accomplish, you know, in this case, a salary raise, let’s say, through the lens of what are the benefits to your boss? What’s in it for them? What are the benefits to them? So sometimes, again, without rehearsing or training or conditioning for these conversations, what many women are assuming is that they go into this conversation saying, Hey, I’ve done a really good job, I think I deserve more money, you know, please give me a raise. That’s not usually an approach that feels good or is likely to work. What’s more effective is something like, you know, I really enjoy working for this company, I have really been proud of these accomplishments over the last year. And in fact, in the year to come, I’m excited to make bigger contributions.


Debbie Goodman  22:48

That is such a great way to actually shift the lens of somebody who may not have been thinking about you in relation to the future and what that holds. And I know that I love it when my staff when my people come to me, and they really want to reaffirm their commitment into the future. And that feels really good. And so I think but as a strategy in order to give language to one’s role, one’s accomplishments and what when, how one can continue to add value in the future in the context of many shifting and moving parts, such as turnover. I think that’s a that’s a really great segue into this conversation.


Henna Pryor  23:31

Yeah, May I share? Actually, as we’ve been talking, one more tactic as it relates to the moment in time right now, which is taking some of the effort off of your leader will take you very far. So we’ll get very concrete with this, you know, as the economy changes, sometimes your leader is the ultimate decision maker on salary. Sometimes your leader needs to take that to HR, right, depending on your role, depending on your company. Oftentimes, leaders see it as you know, I only have so much social capital, I can call on to fight for certain things. And so in order to fight for you, can you reduce the friction? Can you reduce the effort? So you can first ask the question, hey, you know, Mr. And Mrs. Leader, how can I make this easier for you to make this request, and I’ve had clients go so far is that list of accomplishments, that list of selling points, the reasons that you deserve that, put it in a nice, neat document, that they can literally hand to HR, right, make it easy for them make the work the lift less, and they are much more likely to do it for you.


Debbie Goodman  24:39

I think that that is an amazing tactic that we sometimes overlook, because we are not necessarily speaking to the final decision maker on this on this matter. And so at once again, not only just speaking once about one’s accomplishments, but keeping a record of it is kind of a good monthly practice to weekly or monthly Access to get into so that when your review or your conversation happens, you’ve got that at the tip of your inbox somewhere somewhere in a, in a document that’s that you can easily communicate. Anna, what are you seeing as the most successful types of package negotiations? Where, let’s say companies are really budgeting right now. And they’re not necessarily able to do the bigger uplift on actual cash. What else might one be able to ask for? Because everyone said, Listen, this is these are my accomplishments. This is the value I want to add to the to the company going forward. And I would like to ask for a package increase. And the response is, listen, we’re tight, as you can tell, and we don’t have a lot of extra for the coming year, we can have to test the market conditions. I imagine that kind of conversation is happening everywhere, in offices around the world. How am I what other sort of elements of a compensation package could one put on the table?


Henna Pryor  26:08

Hmm, I love that question. And people often forget that there are other elements that you can put on the table. So I’ll share the low hanging fruit first, you can of course, try to negotiate additional paid time off, right there is value to that you can try to negotiate sometimes, depending on company size, different types of benefits, things, you know, an increased benefits package, you can sometimes negotiate those rates, I think some of the more powerful ones that people forget about is continuing ed and professional development, you know, these things programs can be very costly. And so if you can negotiate a sponsorship around some continuing ed programs, sometimes companies will offer stipends for childcare dependent care, elder care, you know, really mind for, and this is where it’s really useful to ask other people in the organization, what are some of the benefits that they’ve heard of that other people take advantage of, but really mind for what are some of the options, you know, flexibility and schedule can be one, it really just depends on entirely individual what is a value to that person. But I have seen many instances, I recently was working with a client who went through this very thing where she could not negotiate more money, the money was not available. But she had been really, you know, burning the midnight oil for some time. For the next six months, she negotiated Fridays off, Fridays off for six months. It wasn’t permanent. It wasn’t how it was always going to be. But they valued her, they knew that she was deserving of a salary increase, and we’re unable to give it but she got it and they genuinely respected it. She felt like she had her Friday’s off. So don’t be afraid to be creative with your ask and see what they can meet in the middle with, you’d be surprised that there’s more options than we think.


Debbie Goodman  27:55

Right? There are so many more options than we think. And as a valued employee accompanies will really be looking to find ways to continue to engage and retain you. This has been the most valuable conversation I mean, at a big picture level, some you know, thinking about mindset, and then some actual tactics and some language to use henna, what’s the best way to get ahold of you.


Henna Pryor  28:16

So LinkedIn is my preferred playground. That’s where I spend most of my online hours. Feel free to find me there. My website is You can also go to it’ll redirect if that’s easier. And I love making new friends socially. So please look me up. And I’d be happy to connect.


Debbie Goodman  28:35

Fantastic. I will continue to connect with you. And this has been such an engaging conversation. Thank you so much for joining me.


Henna Pryor  28:42

Thank you so much for having me!


Debbie Goodman  28:44

All the best. Thanks for hanging around all the way to the end. It would mean the world if you would rate and review on working revolution on your favorite listening app. It helps people know that the show is worth listening to. And so I really appreciate that. Thank you so much.


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