How to Get a Raise When Others Are Losing Their Jobs
The fear of losing seems to have supplanted the goal of winning in our society.
Wait a minute...
wasn't America founded on risk taking and a belief that we would prevail in the face of difficult odds? Put your fears aside and take the positive approach and, while others quake at their desks, let's get you a raise.
Before I launch into the ten best ways I know of to get a raise, let's pause long enough to recognize that "a raise" can be a lot more than just an increase in your pay envelop; it can represent non cash items like more vacation, shorter work hours, not being on call, a better parking space, free child care and the like.
A raise can also be in the form of an added or increased benefit like better medical insurance coverage, use of the executive retreat, use of a health club, a larger 401k matching or even items that defer taxes.
In some thirty years of dispensing career advice to well over a hundred thousand professionals, I can't think of any that have come right out and asked me if I could help them get a raise.
I might also add that I can't think of a single person in these years that has been terminated for seeking a raise so let's explore the ten best ways to get a raise.
# 1 - Keep a Cost Savings List Here's a neat thing to do: Get a dozen postcards from the Post Office and address them to yourself and then take them to work and keep them handy.
Every time you have personally saved money for your employer or have made a direct recommendation to your boss of a cost saving idea, jot it down on the back of your postcard and send it to yourself.
When these cards come in, just throw them in your drawer and scoop them up and take them with you once a year when your review date or anniversary date comes up.
#2 - Create Your Own Salary Review Date Only the largest of companies seem to have any kind of routine salary or performance reviews for their employees.
However, for most of the businesses out there, there is no established program as to when (let alone how) an employee job review is to be conducted.
I think a lot of companies avoid this topic because they don't want to create a precedent for periodic raises for their entire staff.
So, you should take it upon yourself to create a fixed date when you can have a "pay and performance" review with your boss.
Here are a few ideas about when that should be; on your anniversary hire date, after a key piece of work (e.
the annual audit), after a significant event (e.
you brought in a huge new account for the company), after completion of a training program or when there has been a "material event".
A material event might be pending sale of the company, a dramatic raise in the cost of living, the company posting a record income, when your responsibilities have increased or when there have been a number of new hires in and around the type of job you hold (because new hires can often come in at new market pay scales!).
There are an infinite number of "material events" you can peg it to but, in my view, you should have a least one review a year.
#3 - Keep an Increase-in-Revenue List Same idea here as the cost savings list.
Companies are in business to make money so start listing the ways you made them money.
It isn't always so obvious for staff people (like the parking lot attendant) to connect with the revenue side of the business but remember that saving a good customer is the equivalent of making money for the company.
Maybe, in the parking lot attendant's case, he sees to it that the key customers get prime spaces near the door.
Perhaps you know of or found a better way to improve customer service which, in turn, makes them more likely to become repeat business.
Recently, an accounts payable clerk brought to her manager's attention that it had been over three years since anyone at the company had tried to re-negotiate the rate that the third-party credit card company charged.
The result was a new, better rate that brought in an additional $1,900 each month.
#4 - Look for Faster or More Efficient Ways of Doing Things Almost any job can be done faster or more efficiently.
Take a hard look at your job or the jobs around you.
How could they be done better? Sometimes a company has to spend money to make money so don't be afraid to propose methods that will initially cost money.
Write your idea up (getting it documented is key!) and send it to your boss with an extra copy to his boss (save a copy for your review files as well).
#5 - Expand Community Awareness Within Your Company We live in an era of community awareness.
The notion is that companies should give back something to the communities in which they are located.
The chances are pretty high that the head of your organization is working on a plan for improved community involvement at this very moment.
It doesn't matter that your headquarters is in Boston and you are in Rancho Del Radiation, companies are hungry for positive PR and will encourage your efforts.
Right now, draw up a list of the non-profit service organizations in your local community.
Pick two that you feel you can personally get behind and call the heads of these groups and say "I am an employee of [name of your company] and our goal is to provide support to groups like yours..
what, besides money, could our employees provide that would be of help to your organization".
For one group it might be reading glasses for their seniors, in another it might copying services and for still another more athletic equipment.
There is always a need.
Next, organize a support drive, establish a collection point or whatever it takes to help meet their needs.
Do not look for personal glory in this - make your focus to expand community awareness and be sure to talk about it every meeting you attend.
#6 - Invent New Products or Services An inside sales clerk for a window manufacturing company was often being asked who he might know who could do some construction work to install new window treatments.
Since his company had just concentrated on replacement windows, he saw this as an opportunity to help start a custom window design group.
The president of his company gave the go ahead and it proved very profitable for the company.
Needless to say, it came up at his salary review.
Most companies welcome ways to improve their service but forget that adding new services is often the best way to improve overall service.
Continually push for new products and new services and raises will find you before you even expect them.
#7 - Set up a Brown Bag University Better training equals better service and better motivated employees.
Most employees are starved for training and consider it as adding to their status in the company.
Ask your boss if you can set up a periodic (but regular) lunch hour training program that you can refer to as "Brown Bag University".
People bring a sack lunch and receive training on a topic with a designated speaker.
Maybe you can ask someone in from accounting to explain the benefit programs or bring in someone from the sales department to explain some of the new products or maybe just play some motivational tapes.
There is no end to topics that are of value and no end to the favorable attention you will get for organizing the whole program.
#8 - Keep a Notebook I know this sounds like you are back in the 7th grade but you have no idea how flattered someone can be when they are telling you something and you whip out your little notebook and start writing.
It does not matter if your workstation is an assembly line, desk or squad car - a notebook will find a use.
Make it something that can fit on your person.
Make it small but classy and keep it with you at all times.
Anytime the boss is giving you an instruction or important item, you should be reaching for your notebook! #9 - Arrive Early and Stay Late J.
Paul Getty was once asked his secret of success and he said "rise early, work hard, discover oil".
Until you can do the oil discovery part, the best suggestion I can have about getting a raise is to get to the job early (at least earlier than the published start date) and stay beyond the normal stopping time.
A great rule for you is to be the first one on the job and working every day.
Stay fifteen minutes after the quitting hour and, if nothing else, get out that little notebook and make a few notes about your day.
Use this time for planning or organizing for the next day.
Even better, use this few minutes after day's end to establish goals and priorities for yourself.
You will be amazed at what you can accomplish in just these few minutes each day.
#10 - Ask for It Nothing ventured, nothing gained; everyone knows that adage.
Still, I am willing to bet that something less than one percent of all employees ever ask for a raise.
Don't put asking for a raise in the same class as earning a Medal of Honor or Olympic gold medal: Those are earned and awarded by extra meritorious acts.
A raise is simply putting a new (hopefully more accurate) market value on your services.
It is best to begin this armed with facts that your employer can weigh and, by following points #1 - 9 above, you will have a good deal of facts to build a case for a raise.
Gather these and ask for a time when you can speak privately to your manager.
If asked the topic, simply say it is a deeply personal matter and will only take a few minutes.
A cautionary note here; never go into a salary raise meeting and ask for a specific amount or percentage.
The reason being that they may be thinking of offering you more than you propose.
Let them come up with the first number! Don't let them surgically remove your backbone with things like "we only conduct reviews at such and such a date" or "it has only been "x months since your last review".
Just say "it isn't a feature of time but of results and here are my results [and then name them].
Even if you are turned down for a salary increase, remember from the start of this article, there are a number of other things you can negotiate so it will be wise to think, in advance, about a few non-cash items that could be just as appealing as a salary increase.
Summary Think of a raise as a simple readjustment in your market worth based on the many additional values that you bring to your employer and to your job.
You should be able to categorize these values in the form of cost savings, increased revenue, better ways to do the job, added duties, additional training and the like.
Take a proactive approach and ask for a raise and have a fall back position to ask for non-cash things that have meaning for you.
Use these ten easy ways to improve your salary!