The best way to get a raise is to outperform at your job. When you shine in this regard, you attract the attention of your supervisors. Moreover, if there are raises to be given, you move to the front of the line. Great bosses know that your success is the key to their success. However, not everyone works for a great boss. Your boss may assume that happy with your compensation. A pay raise may not happen unless you are asking for one.
Over my 40-year professional career, including more than 25 years as a CEO, I have seen and heard it all. So, instead of passively accepting a fate or spending all that effort to get another offer, you can get a pay raise. All it needs is a little research, planning, going beyond in your current position, and asking at the best time in the right way.
Five People Who Will Never Get a Pay Raise
You will recognize the archetypes, described by Korn Ferry’s CEO, Gary Burnison, CEO.
Indirect Irene: Sends the boss an email that hints about wanting to discuss something. Or, leaves a voicemail: “I, uh, want to know if we can, uh, talk about something around, you know, my last raise… Not urgent. When you have time.” However, Indirect Irene does not know how to have a conversation that is about performance and not just pay. The boss has other things to think about, so nothing happens.
Outta Here Ollie: Wakes up one morning and decides today is the day. With two kids in college, a mortgage, and car payments, he needs more money. He marches into the boss’s office with an attitude of “if I don’t get a raise, I’m outta here.” That day HR starts a search to find his replacement. Ollie was indeed outta there.
Resentful Renee: Says nothing to her boss when she gets a raise. She knows it is the same percentage that everybody else got—except she does not think she is like everybody else. She deserves more! And she won’t do one more extra thing at work until she makes more money. Renee does not last long at the company.
Passive Aggressive Paul: Complains around the water-cooler about salary and bonuses. Tries to spread the negativity because misery loves company. His only comment to the boss is that “I hear people are unhappy with their pay.” However, the boss sees right through it. Paul, too, is soon gone.
Lying Larry: Tries to force his boss’s hand by claiming to have another job offer with a significant raise in salary. When the boss asks to see the offer letter (companies typically do this, by the way), Lying Larry has nothing to show. And he is gone.
How You Ask for A Pay Raise is Critical
What these five characters did not understand is that how you ask is even more critical than the amount you are seeking.
Requesting a raise is a fair conversation. So, there is no reason to avoid having it. However, getting the income you want is more likely to occur if you establish a partnership with your boss. It needs to centre around achieving short-term goals and improving team performance. Then you and your boss can both end up making more money!
This point is missed by far too many people, who assume that they are not getting the pay raises they want because the boss is miserly. The truth is, the boss just is not thinking about your paycheque as much as you are. However, when you focus on how you can make a more significant impact, you are putting yourself in your boss’s shoes. It is not just about you, and what you want, it is all about the team.
Make Yourself Indispensable
Think back to the teams you have worked with during your career. The chances are, there are a few individuals who stand out in your memory. These are individuals who were merely indispensable to the team and the firm.
The truly indispensable employee is rare. Across organizations of all sizes, skills, knowledge, and relationships are more distributed than ever. When you couple this trend with the strong sense of entitlement that many modern employees show, it becomes easy to understand how team members become replaceable.
While the employer has a responsibility to create an environment where people can feel secure, I believe it is incumbent upon employees to step up and make themselves indispensable inside of their organization. An essential employee continues to build and use their talent stack (skills, knowledge, wisdom, accomplishments, and behavioural traits) for the mutual advantage of the organization and themselves.
Indispensable employees are engaged, employees. Engaged employees are up to four times more productive than your average employee. However, fewer than one in five employees is engaged, according to Gallup.
“Only 2% of employees can name their company’s top three priorities. Executives of those companies predicted 64% would be able to do so." — Inc. Magazine
Can you be indispensable if you do not know the priorities of your organization?
You are indispensable means that your supervisors count on you so much that without you, the productivity of your unit might suffer. In the minds of your supervisors and colleagues, you are essential to the overall success of the team — you are a necessary and valued part of the machine. They depend on you.
When you are indispensable, you create your job security, set the stage for a raise, and you give yourself the opportunity to own your career journey.
Take our 3-minute quiz —Calculate My Indispensability Quotient
Stepping Back Could Be a Step Forward
A lateral career shift to a new position is more common than might be expected. Today you climb the corporate lattice rather than the corporate ladder. Sometimes you must take a step back or sideways in your jobs to make that ultimate jump forward.
The process of asking for and receiving more money is straightforward. Yet, so many people just do not get it or refuse to do it. However, here it is:
- Initiate a dialogue with your boss — always in person
- Focus on the organization’s priorities — how you contribute to team success
- Own your performance goals — under promise and over deliver
- Have weekly check-ins with your boss on your deliverables — look for advice, use it, thank them for the help
- Expand your responsibilities — be the first to volunteer for the tough assignments
- Increase your career capital — continue to build your talent stack
With these six elements in place, it is a natural pivot to discuss your compensation. By checking-in weekly, sharing success and using your manager’s advice, your boss might be the one to start the money conversation.
Read our insight
Today, most organizations organizational are reducing levels of management. Further, there are fewer levels of management. Accordingly, your career path is transiting from a Corporate Ladder to a Corporate Lattice. Moreover, movement routinely is diagonal or horizontal versus moving up. While you may take longer to reach to the top, you have a much higher opportunity to build your talent stack. [...]
Become the Shining Star
“If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance then baffle them with BS.”
My sister gave me a tee shirt with this slogan on it, as a teenager. I quickly learned that BS and a door would buy a cup of coffee. When confronted with BS from my employees, I tell the story of my tee shirt.
So, when it comes to shining, there is more than one way for you to do it. From finding an advocate to doing double duty. Here is a look at six strategies that can help you get a raise without asking.
Money talks. When you are the one bringing more money to a company or saving them some, you increase your chances are you will be rewarded for your effort. Adding value means numerous things. It might be bringing in new customers or cutting costs by using suppliers you have worked in the past. Alternatively, it may mean supplying referrals that lead to critical hires.
Develop ten by ten list — ten things you could do that would add ten percent more value. Try for five ideas to increase revenue and five ways to cut costs. The concept is to become valuable to the company because you are always thinking about ways the business grows or protect its bottom line.
Can You Do Double Your Output?
The mantra for some years now has been doing more with less. If you can carry out everything expected of you in your current job exceptionally well, plus find the resources to take on value-adding projects no one asked you to do. Do them well, and you will be rewarded for it. Think about how you could do double the job you were hired and took steps to reach that productivity. You will get noticed.
Find an Advocate / Sponsor
When you spend the day singing your praises, you either offend people or have them question why you think it is necessary. However, if you want to get noticed by the leaders, have other people do it for you. Find individuals who can speak on your behalf about your work ethic and accomplishments. It can go a long way in getting you noticed and thus more money.
During your weekly check-in’s stating that you have achieved and who helped you to complete the weekly deliverable promotes your value and worth to boss. Drop by and mention to the colleagues who helped you and tell them that you mentioned to the boss, the help they gave you to achieve your deliverables. Thank them again. Once your boss hears from your advocates, he or she may be inclined to give you a raise without you asking. Your colleagues will see you as a wonderful team member rather than one who hogs the credit.
Make Your Boss Look Great
You may want to move up the corporate ladder. However, it is not going to make you any friends if you engage in any ruthless behaviour to get there. On the other hand, helping to get your boss promoted is a terrific way to earn a raise.
“Making your bosses look like great leaders – by doing an excellent job, turning your team into a well-oiled machine, and showcasing their achievements – can make you stand out in a good way.” —Aravinda Rao Souza, BullHorn.
When you try to move up, either financially or in terms of title, at the expense of others, be prepared for a fight. However, in attempting to push everyone up a level, you will be invited to the celebration party!
Volunteer for Tasks
Nothing shouts team player more than volunteering for a task that no one else in the office wants to do. It may be organizing the holiday party, running a charity event, or getting all the employees on board with a new wellness program. When you volunteer and do it well it shows:
- you are a team player
- you understand the pains of the firm and are willing to go the extra mile to help overcome the problems or challenges
- your leadership and organizational skills
Get high profile assignment
It may not be easy. However, getting assigned to highly visible projects will ensure the key players know you because your name is apt to come up more often. Highly visible projects expand your exposure, increases your impact. You become more impactful, as you gain increased recognition. Your manager may be inclined to provide you with a raise without asking because your impact is known. He or she will want to reward you and keep you happy.
Personal Development Plan
Earlier I mentioned the importance of increasing your career capital. Career capital provides you with the freedom to shape your path with your current organization or elsewhere.
“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in 10 years”. - Bill Gates
The more career capital you have, the higher the freedom you to follow your passions. Frequent mistakes include
- expecting instant gratification
- underestimating the ingenuity and perseverance needed to make extraordinary things happen
Passion built on commitment, pride, and mastery is the key to achieving fulfilment at work. In the book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell pronounces that it takes ten thousand hours of practice to reach mastery in a field.
Personal growth is a continuous lifelong process of nurturing, shaping, and improving skills and knowledge to ensure maximum effectiveness and ongoing employability. You need to own your journey. Aligning a development driven by your employer is useful. However, you still need one. Your personal growth does not necessarily imply upward movement; instead, it is about enabling you to improve your performance and reach their full potential at each stage of your career.
Personal development planning is the process of:
- establishing career goals — what you want to achieve or where you want to go, in the short, medium, or long-term
- assessing your current realities
- being open to opportunities
- identifying needs to enhance your talent stack to capitalize on the possibilities — skills, knowledge, wisdom, behavioural traits, and accomplishments
- selecting proper development activities to meet those needs
It starts with an inventory of your talent stack, including an assessment of your behavioural DNA. We package this into a career assessment,
Tying It All Together
Employers determine and keep track of an employee’s market value. You should know too. Find out what other people in your position in your city make by using the GlassDoor personalized salary estimate tool. When a recruiter calls, ask them to email you some details including the salary range. Thane is data with you when you ask for you raise.
Determine how much you are worth to the company. It would be best if you produced at least double your salary. If you are consulting, your bill out rate should be about three to four times what you get paid in salary. Calculate your utilization factor. It needs to be over 70 percent if you are looking for more money.
Ask for a reasonable amount. Very few employers are going to give you more than a five to ten percent raise. I think that ten percent is the perfect amount to ask for unless you are finding that you are wildly underpaid based on your market and company value research. If you do see that you are underpaid by 20 percent or more, then you can go in with your research and ask to be for a raise that pays you at least the market rate for your position. If you cannot get it all at once, agree on what market value is and step up a few steps, something like ten percent now and ten percent is six months.
Research indicates that the best time to ask for a raise is Friday morning around 10 or 11 am. The reason is that your boss is like you and is excited about the weekend. Also, people tend to be more generous in the morning before noon, according to psychology research. Good luck!
Challenge — What's Right For You?
Solution = Leverage Your Talent Stack + Build Your Career Capital
Identify your unique behavioural strengths, build your career capital and leverage your unique talent stack for lifetime success.
- Grow your leadership potential by targeting your critical developmental needs
- Determine your crucial career success factors, allowing for more focused efforts
- Discover your best and most successful career direction
- Find out about your strengths and interests in different career areas
Knowing yourself is the first step to being happy. Moreover, staying happy is an ongoing process of regrounding your long-term goals with your current objectives. When those align, you’re on the path to a job you can adore. Know when to find a better job as your best option may be to fall in love with your job (again) We also offer a personal development plan to help you achieve career success and satisfaction.Let’s Talk!