How to Get the Raise You Deserve
Tell me if this sounds familiar: “I’m not getting paid enough! I want a raise!” Most likely these words have passed your lips at one time or another, or you’ve heard them being said by someone you know. At every company that I have worked at, I have heard coworkers bemoan what they feel are inadequate wages. It shouldn’t come as a shock to you that most people feel they’re not getting paid as much as they think they deserve.
The truth of the matter is, you’ll get paid as much as what the company thinks it needs to pay you so you don’t quit. This means that unless you can show them you’re worth more, your situation will remain the same.
Understand the Benchmark That You Are Being Compared To
The first thing you need to understand is the benchmark that you are being measured by. Are you a salesperson with a target quota per month? Are you being evaluated based on the number of projects completed or chargeable hours? Know precisely how much of that is under your sphere of influence. Before you even begin to negotiate your salary, you need to know the rules of the game. The first step to winning any game is knowing how to score.
Once you know the metrics that you will be judged by, then we move onto what we can do to get ahead of the game. Ask your supervisor what you need to do to get a raise and/or a promotion. This conversation will help you determine what the formula is that the company uses to evaluate employees; or you may find out that part of the process is purely subjective. Regardless, we’ll have a clearer picture of what we need to do.
Furthermore, if you don’t already know about the annual review process and how often feedback will be provided by your supervisor in regards to your performance, then you should ask. It’s always good to know who will have input on raises and promotions and what is the expected timeline to get them. More information will help set the right expectations so there are no surprises down the road.
Gather Evidence to Support Your Claims
Even though it might seem like a faux pas to talk about salary, the fact is people often confide in others how much they make. Often, I see this happening after a disappointing raise. It’s hard not to complain if you’re told to wait another year for that elusive promotion. So it’s a good bet that you may already know what others in your company are getting paid. If you’re not happy with what you’re hearing, then it’s time to gather more information.
The best way, I believe, to gather evidence that you are being paid below market requires you to contact some recruiting agencies or send resumes out. You can discuss career options with recruiting agents and gain some insights into other opportunities. You might even go on a few job interviews. Not only does this allow you to test the market and find out what other jobs pay, but also lay the groundwork for a backup plan. No job is 100% secure, right?
Throughout my career I have worked in varying positions, including managerial ones. I know that managers hate to hear employees complain about their wages without knowing exactly what they’re requesting, or ask for something that is inconsistent with the market relative to their title and position. Don’t be unrealistic; we all want to make more money. Before starting any type of negotiation, you need to gather enough data points to support your case.
Be Respectful When Negotiating Your Salary
Before you negotiate, it’s helpful to put yourself in the shoes of your manager. Ideally, as a manager, you want your employees to be happy with the compensation they are currently receiving. The manager may be responsible for the profitability of a division; in other words, a lower salary expense directly translates to higher profits for the division. This means that when you negotiate, you need to make a business case as to why it makes good business sense to pay you more versus the alternative of you walking out the door. Make it clear that you enjoy coming to work and would like to continue be a part of the team.
Always be prepared and thoughtful when laying out your argument. Clearly state your business case and provide your manager the bullet points he/she needs to justify the raise. At the end of the day, our goal is to be happy doing what we do. We want to feel like we are being treated fairly by the company and that the job gives you a sense of accomplishment.
Making Yourself a Valuable Asset
Sometimes we get so used to a certain situation we’re stuck in status quo. It’s always important to keep increasing your own value to the company. Consider taking a course or get certifications that will advance your career. Many courses and certifications nowadays are offered conveniently online. Don’t ever get too comfortable at one position! If you are not learning new skills, managing new tasks or developing other people around you, you might want to reevaluate your situation.
It is terrible to go to work every day thinking that you are being taken advantage of and not getting compensated adequately. Besides the typical workload and stress of a job, you definitely don’t need to feel a sense of unfairness or inequity. Having said that, just because another job pays more doesn’t mean that it is better for you. That other job may offer less benefits, require a longer commute, or require more traveling — which means more time away from the family. It is very possible that after speaking to other companies and exploring other opportunities, you realize that you are pretty lucky to be right where you are.
You know best what is right for you. Make sure you do your research. Approach salary negotiation courteously and respectfully. Remember – you don’t get what you don’t ask for!