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When And How To Negotiate A Raise

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ASKING FOR RAISE
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Regardless of your role in business, you have probably been asked to accomplish more with less. We often go above and beyond the original task without even being asked. But then we're delivering $2 worth of value and are being compensated $1.

While research increasingly places feeling valued and getting promoted on the same level as being well paid, we still need to feel we are being fairly paid. I have always felt that compensation is another way of keeping score and of measuring your professional value.

Have you had any of these feelings when you check your account balance every two weeks and that pay deposit hasn't gone up in over a year?

  • Resentment over the sense you're being had while colleagues are getting increases?
  • Anger because you haven't had the nerve to ask for a raise - let alone a performance review?
  • Fear as your income isn't keeping pace with your rising living costs?
  • Demotivated because you feel that your best efforts aren't being recognized, so why bother to keep working so hard?
  • Guilt because you have been spending more time working than with your family?
  • Stuck because you are tired of chasing your manager to give you a review and find it easier to let him or her decide when to meet?

If you are feeling any of these things, a performance and salary review is long overdue. If you continue to put off asking for a review, chances are these feelings will escalate to the point that the thought of going to work is painful and when you do go in, your performance will suffer - along with your health. Burnout could be looming.

Consider these steps to schedule an effective performance and salary review -- quickly:

  1. Contact your manager or client and arrange a face-to-face conversation to discuss your performance and salary or fees within two weeks. (Avoid holding the meeting via email or phone. You want your manager's full attention and to let them know that this conversation is worth setting time aside.
  2. Before the meeting, prepare a simple chart highlighting your work activities over the past three months and their outcomes (in terms of increased sales or other measurable entity). This will help you quantify your value should you be challenged. Equally important, be ready with a response after hearing, "We are all working harder to remain viable in a competitive environment and no one is being given a raise until Q2." Or, "Sure, you deserve a raise. We are prepared to offer you an increase of 10% per year effective the first of next month."
  3. Set a conciliatory tone at the start of the meeting but be clear what you are seeking. Consider starting by saying, "I'd like to talk about my compensation in respect to the value I create for the company."
  4. Be ready for anything. Rather than quickly accepting a raise right off the bat, give yourself time to think. Be ready with your reasons for being given a raise and accomplishment chart.
  5. If your manager starts negotiating, remember that the best negotiations end with both parties feeling recognized. Consider doing some role-playing with a friend or trusted colleague to negotiate confidently while keeping things friendly.
  6. Should you reach a stalemate and feel your aren't being heard and won't receive a raise or promotion, conclude the meeting with, "I appreciate your time today and would like to think about all we've discussed. Let's meet again within the week." Unless you have prepared a letter of resignation and are comfortable resigning at that meeting, avoid inflammatory comments that may hurt the goodwill you have built over the years.
  7. Think positive thoughts going into the meeting. Put yourself in your manager's shoes, who is probably faced with cutting or closely monitoring budgets while keeping your goals in mind. Keep calm and communicate your value in the most objective terms possible using measurable accomplishments versus your great character traits.

Thinking and behaving like a professional in potentially stressful situations showcases your Emotional Intelligence. It will enhance your professional reputation -- whether you stay or go.

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