You’ve been working hard and now it is time to push your company to increase your compensation. You want a bit more money. Are YOU ready to negotiate for more money?

  1. Don’t demand and don’t threaten to quit. You have to be prepared to negotiate, not to demand whatever you want. The company and its management are in the power seat, not you. In his first year on the job, a colleague of mine, full of himself, made it known to me and many others over several lunches that he had enough waiting. He boasted that it was time to walk in there and demand more money with the caveat to, “…threaten to quit if I don’t get what I want.”  He did and returned about 30 minutes later looking sad and forlorn. “I was told to quit.”
  2. Can the company afford it? If the company is reporting financial losses, that might not be quite the right time to press for a bump up in salary. If a new boss had just been assigned as overseers to your team or group or the company, there is a “honeymoon period” that will not include discussions about increased operating costs. You are a cost.
  3. Is your timing right or wrong? This tip comes under the category that I described in the Nugget, “Can you Feel It?” Click here to read it, and you should read it.   One of the elements of that is your own performance. If you just had a performance appraisal in which you were given a performance warning or rated as the bottom 10% or bottom 20%, so, as a bottom performer, then that is obviously not be a good time to push for a salary increase. Or if this is year 2 following a performance warning, that’s not a good time. However, if this is your second year of “Exceptional” performance, or if you are consistently well above sales forecast results, if the company has not already stepped forward with a pay increase, you might want to help give the company a GENTLE, non-threatening, nudge in that direction. Your timing to ask is always better if you are an exceptional performer, have a continuous record of self-improvement of skills relevant to the company, and if you are a good “fit” with the company, that is, an ideal employee.
  4.  Do you have a wide or wider net? Managers are influenced by their colleagues. They want to be seen as having made the right decisions and they want to be proud of their people. Not only must you impress your immediate chain of command, but also those in the chain of command that are peers to your boss and your boss’s boss. Have you found ways throughout the year to make other managers aware of how great you are and did so without stepping on toes or violating company charters? This is a good time to read more in my posts on “Career Overdrive” and in particular the Nugget, “Don’t Wait For The System”. Click here to read it.
  5. It’s up to YOU to show how you are different than the others and why you are more deserving. When you do engage your manager in a discussion about a raise, it will be helpful to be ready to have a list of your accomplishments that you can review and that are of importance to the company and to your manager. Your accomplishments should be of the kind that fit nicely in each of these three categories  titled, “What I did for the Company”, “What I did for my Management”, and “What I did for my team”. The more items on that list that only you were able to do, as compared to your peers, the better the odds fall in your favor
  6. Don’t expect too much. Be flexible and realistic. Though you want a raise, keep in mind you may be jumping the queue. Others may be doing what you are doing. Others may be designated for a raise in pay before you. Understand that your boss has a limited basked of dollars and must spread that out across all of his or her direct reports. It’s no different than slicing a pizza to serve 8 or 10 hungry kids, mouths salivating,  gathered around to watch those slices being cut. The moment a piece is either too wide or too narrow, the kids will protest. However, within that restraint, the person doing the “slicing” can stray a wee bit without raising the ire or disappointment of others. In hard dollar terms, you may not be able to get a 15% increase in pay by negotiating for a raise, but you might get an extra 1/2% or maybe 1% or 1.5% that you might not otherwise have been marked to receive. Over a few years it results in a positive “compounding” effect to your benefit. So, even a small bump up in pay, over your lifetime career, may be worth it. Or, maybe not. So be flexible in your expectations.
  7. If you are frequently, continuously disappointed, you may have to plan an exit strategy. But don’t be rash, eager to quit, or even use quitting as your so-called “red line”. LISTEN TO ME: jobs are scarce today!!!!  Don’t think that you are so valuable that “Any other company will hire me”, unless you are fluent in Chinese, or the language of one of the emerging countries and are willing to relocate there. [That’s where all the great jobs are going.]… JOBS ARE SCARCE TODAY and will be for decades to come. If you have a good job you might want to keep it. But if you are set on leaving, then don’t let it be known within your company that you plan to leave. Don’t telegraph your intentions. You may be able to do your LENGTHY job search while remaining at your current company. I’m not suggesting you use company time for your job search, rather, to keep your income coming while you spend long hours in the evening pumping out thousands of resumes. And, yes, it may take YEARS and THOUSANDS OF RESUMES. I’m being serious!  And, here’s a great reason for not telegraphing your intention. Often while you are busy with your job search, someone else in your company may get fired, or the company may expand and create a job opening that you may not have expected. You may discover an opportunity to apply for a “new job” but within your own firm.
  8. When you do get an external job offer, you may be able to leverage it. That might be a chance to give it one last try. Once you are certain you not going to be without a job, that you are going to be employed, either way, you might want to try one last time to negotiate with your management. Once your management has to face the need and hassle of replacing you, and once it is made known to the manager’s peers who think highly of you, your manager just might be a bit more flexible. Still, when you use this final approach, when you use this tactic, you need to do so diplomatically and without prejudicing your future at or away from your current company. You want to leave on great terms, if possible. You want your managers to feel good about you so that he or she will say good things about you. This may not change the outcome, but is an “explanation” your manager needs to close the mental loop. But sometimes it works and you may get that raise you asked for. Then the question is, “Does that satisfy you sufficiently to keep you?”