Need a raise? 10 tips for your annual salary review

A friend told me recently that she is paid considerably less than a colleague for doing the same job. She found this out by accident but is angry about it. She has approached her manager and will be having a meeting to discuss this as part of an annual salary review.

 

She asked me for some tips on how she can demonstrate why she should get a raise, so I thought I would share some.

 

1)      Find out what the industry standard is for the job you are doing, and take into account the city you live in as standard of living counts too. You can try www.salary.com in the US, http://www.hays.com.au/salary/default.aspx in Australia and NZ or http://www.payscale.com. You can also ask your peers at other companies for ballpark figures.

 

2)      Work out your value to the company you work for. Are you hired out to other clients? If so, what is your charge out rate? How much do you personally add to the company you are in? This may be in financial terms or in experience or softer skills. For example, someone who knows the business inside out is valuable to a company.  

 

3)      What reason do you have for asking for a raise? Are you adding extra value to the company since you accepted the position at the rate you are on? Have you up-skilled? What reasons can you give the HR Manager when they ask why they should give you a raise? Saying “because I am not paid enough”, is not a good enough reason! If you can’t think of any, then make sure you have the answers next time around.

 

4)      Know how much you are asking for and go in with that figure written down unless you are confident discussing money. When people ask me how much money I want, I will write it down as my English reserve kicks in. I am happy writing a larger figure than I can say out loud, and it is what I consider my value to be. If you don’t believe you are worth this figure, it will come across in your manner, so make sure you have the right amount in mind and be confident about it.

 

5)      Go in with the above points written down in a professional format. Be prepared and demonstrate this to the reviewer. It is almost like a second interview if you are trying to sell them on giving you a raise.

 

6)      Assess your negotiation skills. You may want to improve them in order to get the best deal.

 

7)      Do you want a raise or do you want recognition? Assess your motivations. Is it just about the money, or do you feel the company is not seeing what you do? If you feel under-appreciated, this may be a different conversation.

 

8)      Do you want money or are you willing to negotiate for other perks or better working conditions? For example, are you willing to trade a $5K raise for a day working from home? What will give you greater quality of life? $5K after tax is not so much, but a day working from home will give you 45 days less commuting time, less fuel consumption and more time with your family.

 

9)      Go in with an open and friendly attitude. Don’t be confrontational or demanding. Put forward your points and discuss them in a rational and organised fashion. Demonstrate your professionalism. If you are given feedback or constructive criticism, then take it with a positive attitude (although that may be hard!). Everything you can do to improve your performance will lead to more money.

 

10)   If you are told that you will not be getting a raise this time around, DO NOT storm out the office! Take a deep breath and ask why. Ask how you can improve and what you can do so that next time around you will get a raise. If you then achieve those things, they will find it hard to refuse you next time.

 

The best way I have found to get a raise is to move to a different company and ask for more on entry to the new position. This may be a more radical approach, but it has worked for me.

 

Remember to focus on whatever is in your power to change. You can’t change the company, but you can change yourself and your situation.

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