HOW TO GET A PAY RISE (7 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF)
With several thousand articles on pay rise, I am guessing you might be asking yourself what I have to offer that others haven’t said. I guess the only thing I have to offer in a real sense of it , is experience of trying this out. In terms of value of this experience, I will let you be the judge of its value.
As some people that know me can testify, I am a big believer in experiential learning. In the past I had read way too many “personal narratives” of the way to success and I realised that while there are some similarities, there are many ways to the same goal. I am also a believer that people should not talk about something they either haven’t experienced in their lives as if they have or dish out directed advice (i.e if you do this, you will get this )
This brings me to the topic at hand, about 2 years back I decided to undertake a bit of a social/work place experiment on what I felt to be a very tricky issue. As you have probably guessed from the name of this, I decided to try to get a pay raise. After all, what did I have to lose?
Now before I continue I would like to quickly put a disclaimer out. I am in no way saying that this is a guaranteed way to get a raise however this is what actually worked for me. Also as you will soon be able to tell, I am not a writer nor am I an aspiring one. I am simply someone with a story to tell. I also would never ever advice anyone to experience something in order to know if it was true in all circumstances and to discard written work (some of which is based on good research). That is simply bad advice. My advice here applies mainly to me and my experience in seeking a raise.
Now, let’s go back to where I was. I have chosen the road of writing about the 7 most important questions that guided my “quest” for more money for a few reasons. Firstly, I don’t think you will get much value in me talking specifically or in detail about what I did every day . Secondly, there is a good chance you would get bored and scroll to the end if you are anything like my loving wife (see what I did there J ) so I will keep this short and reader friendly. Thirdly, while this is from experience and at no point from beginning till the end did I refer, read, watch or listen to any other writing, articles, peers, videos or audio advice; I am not so brave or silly to not give this some thought before attempting to proceed.
To cut a long story short, while trying to get a pay rise these are the 7 main questions I asked myself and a brief outline of why.
1) Are you really worth more? (Honestly?)
Let’s be honest here, most people think they are worth more than they really are or worth less that they are. It is very important to use your introspective skills (Introspection is the examination of one’s own conscious thoughts and feelings). Do a personal combined analysis of past achievements, professional accomplishments and development and your present value to the business compare it to similar businesses and similar jobs in those businesses (try to compare apples for apples if you can). It’s important in determining if this might not be the right time to ask for a raise. Your chances are quite slim or I dare say would be based on luck if this isn’t asked first.
2) Can you prove you are worth more?
While it is all well and good that you think, feel or even know something. In today’s world nothing means anything if you cannot “prove” it. Now I did not go creating a super power point presentation of why I was worth more but, a few things like feedback from colleagues (seniors and direct reports), past reviews, attendance history and lateness records would help a lot. What would help even more is if there is something to compare it to. Now, I must state at this point that I am in no way talking about showing how much better you are than specific colleagues as that would be very unprofessional. If you must compare, make sure it is generic data, such as average statistics for that department (present and future).Make sure it is relevant also.
3) Exactly how much more do you want?
Everyone would like a million pound pay rise. Yet there are very few occupations in the world where you could actually be asking for that and it would be realistic. There is no point asking for something and not knowing exactly how much more you want. It is usually best to keep it in percentages (10%, 15%, 20%) etc. Also ask yourself, Is it feasible or unrealistic for the company? This for me tied directly with the questions of worth. For every business there is an expected return on every pound or dollar spent. You need to know if you can deliver this back. It’s called human resources for a reason (hopefully that doesn’t sound too harsh). Do not be un-aware of it. I was taken more seriously because I had an exact figure I wanted and why I wanted it.
4) Who should you be speaking to about more money?
Now this one is something I honestly did not know mattered at all. I always felt that if you wanted a pay rise you should simply speak to your manager. However, 8 out of 10 times, this is probably correct but in my case it really wasn’t. Unfortunately sometimes your boss through no fault of theirs is more a figure head than anything else. Find out who determines the acceptance of your case and build the earlier steps again for that person also. You would still need to speak to your manager even if they aren’t the ones that determine if it is accepted or not but there is a good chance it could be more to inform them than anything else. It could be your bosses boss or even HR that determines this (though extremely rare for the latter)
5) What is the overall perception of you?
Now let me start by saying that there is a real difference between your real self (who you are) and your ideal self (who you aspire to be). Some people have managed to become who they aspire to be but for most of us, this is not the case. It is also important to note that just as a perceived grievance should be treated as a real one. It does not matter if who people think you are, is not really who you are. People would always treat you based on who they think you are. I guess a simple explanation is would you allow a perceived (not a convicted) serial killer into your home? Does it really matter that there is no proof to support your belief? Try to find out (using a soft approach) about who people really see you at work. You might need to fix an image problem before proceeding. Do not under estimate the power of the “right impression or perception”. Are you seen as a model professional, lazy, difficult, a work complainer or untalented?
6) Are you ready to negotiate?
Let’s start with a quick reality check. You are in an office that only stays afloat and profitable by their ability to mitigate risk, manage costs and expenditure effectively and negotiate its existence amongst competitors and new entrants and now you are asking for more money to do the exact same job. You must be prepared to have a conversation or a few about your request. Do not expect to win or get what you wanted just because you asked. You are attempting to navigate the ever tricky waves of price versus value. You must treat this as such. Be prepared and in my case it ws very beneficial to ask for slightly more than what I would have been okay with.
7) Are you prepared to fail and try again?
No thanks is a very real possibility. Think of this like the first time you met a person you were interested in. Now unless, you think you are God’s gift to the dating world or have an over blown ego, there is a chance you knew you could get shut down. There is also a chance you knew you would have to reattempt the exact same thing again. The main difference between this (looking for a raise) and that (dating) is If at first you don’t succeed, make sure you find out why. Dont just say “it’s okay, thanks for looking at my proposal”. If possible get a review date.
Now in my opinion, by combining this 7 things I managed to get almost 50% pay rise in 2 years (two different pay rises).
Be prepared and good luck with yours. Please feel free to let me know if this helped and better still if it worked for you.