Some of us work at companies that give consistent raises, sometimes for years on the job, sometimes as performance-based incentives, or perhaps to retain talent in an increasingly competitive labor market.
However, as a career coach, I have seen more than my share of under-compensated, under-appreciated, and underpaid clients over the years. In some cases, salaries remain stagnant even with significant increases in duties and responsibility.
One of the issues that often gets brought up during our coaching sessions, is the subject of raises and negotiating skills. Whether it is our women clients who are not earning what their male co-workers with the same job title do (good to check with an employment attorney on that), or long-suffering men and women who grind it for bosses that find every excuse in the book to avoid increases in pay, there are positive steps you can take to increase your earnings.
Some say that a large part of the problem in wage stagnation is that many people simply don’t ask for raises. Obviously, there are many instances in which workers are asking, but just not receiving.
While the jury is still be out on all of the causes of wage and salary stagnation, I can give you some tried and true techniques that could prove helpful in asking for and negotiating a pay increase:
Go online and research what your position, at your years of experience, is likely to pay. The best sites to find salary info are Salary.com, Glassdoor.com, Payscale.com, Vault.com, Indeed.com, and Simplyhired.com.
Ask for a private meeting with your manager. Face-to-face is best, and don’t give too much notice. Mondays and Fridays are generally not considered the best days to ask, and mornings are optimal.
Make sure your timing is right. It is much easier to get a raise when the company has just landed a new contract, or just after you have received recognition for a particular success.
Start out recounting good things about the company and topics that you know will produce agreement. Use confident body language and maintain an upbeat, positive tone throughout the meeting.
Be ready with a bulleted list to give to your manager highlighting your specific, measurable accomplishments and documenting the times you went above and beyond to benefit the company.
You can also suggest other compensation elements, such as added vacation, having the company pay for a degree or training, improved bonus structure, or another promotion.
If your manager turns you down for any number of reasons, you can suggest reopening negotiations in a few months and ask what it would take for you to get a raise by that time. This demonstrates that you truly are interested in increasing your value to the company. If you consistently meet a dead end, and you are a high-performing employee, it may be time to explore your other employment options.
Grant Cooper, New Orleans native & founder of Strategic Resumes®, won the national 2015 Career Directors International President’s Award at the CDI conference in Orlando, FL.
Grant has appeared as a career expert on CBS, ABC & FOX, has authored more than 200 media and journal articles, and has assisted the U.S. Air Force, Kinko’s, the Louisiana Dept. of Labor, the City of New Orleans, the NFL, the NBA, as well as universities, regional banks, celebrities, nonprofits, and major corporations nationwide. Email Grant at firstname.lastname@example.org.