In a recent conversation with an executive, he stated the turnover rate for key positions in his industry is an unbelievable 30% . Most organizations in his industry only budget for 15% turnover. While the global economy is not booming, high performing employees are always in a great position to get higher pay because the cost of replacing them can exceed 200% of their total salary. So you want a raise – how do you approach your boss to ask and get a raise? Here are the four ridiculously awesome strategies to get a raise and have your boss thanking you for it.
1. Talk In Terms of Value and Contribution, Not Responsibilities and Traits
Whenever I asked an employee to make a compelling case to support a request for a raise, s/he almost always talked in terms of job responsibilities and traits possessed. Telling a manager that you are responsible for providing excellent customer service (responsibility) with a great attitude (trait) is mildly interesting but fundamentally irrelevant in a salary discussion. Do that, and you reinforce the status quo. Instead, talk in terms of contributions and accomplishments. Managers are required to minimize costs, so to increase your salary (which is a cost), you must justify the value you’re adding via the accomplishments you’re making. In essence, you must create a compelling value proposition for the salary increase request. By describing every accomplishment in terms of how it increased revenue and/or decreased cost, you will gain immediate attention and open the door for continued negotiation.
2. Crowdsource Your Raise
In most cases, your boss does not have complete authority to grant you a salary increase. Human Resources, senior level managers, and others may need to be consulted. The first step to address this multiple layer decision-making process is to identify who the influencers and decision makers are. You should use crowdsourcing to do this: use your professional network, social networks, internal sources, and any other viable sources that can help you identify them. In the next step, identify the needs and concerns for each decision-maker / influencer to anticipate why each would be supportive or against granting a salary increase. This will allow you to be prepared to counter any resistance before the salary increase request is made.
3. Attack Your Salary Position While Respecting the Salary Determination Process
Companies establish salary structures by reviewing benchmarks for comparable jobs within their industry, function, and location. The key to compelling a manager to go to bat to increase your salary lies in providing clear examples of how your contributions and accomplishments are dramatically exceeding the value associated with your job description. Essentially, you are selling the idea that your job has changed because of the significant contributions being made. Use sales techniques such as asking “leading questions” to get agreement to questions that support approval of the raise.
4. Be Prepared: Come Armed with Information that Compels Action
To effectively attack a salary requires compelling information. Do your homework to ensure you know what the market value of your job is, how realistic your raise request is, and how you will counter any resistance received. Several resources are readily available to aid in the research process including but not limited to:
- The Wall Street Journal online careers section
- LinkedIn (and LinkedIn groups)
- Industry specific salary surveys (such as the 2011 ASTD Salary Survey Report)
A Fast Company article cited the fact that earnings peak for men around age 45 and for woman around 38, therefore it is critical to utilize highly effective strategies for keeping salary growth on an upward trajectory. I’ve coached employees and managers alike to use these four proven and ridiculously effective strategies to confidently ask for and get the raise they deserved. And now, you can too.
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