Then, learn to be the kind of employee to whom managers will WANT to give an increase in pay.
Let’s start with the facts of business. Every manager is allocated a budget from which all functions of the department, division, or corporation must be financed. Regardless of level in the hierarchy, going over budget is bad news and punishable by an “Under-Achieve” rating for whomever owns that budget. What can you conclude from this simple, but often-ignored, fact?
You can NOT simply walk into your manager’s office and demand more pay or a job promotion.
The other fact that balances that hard financial fact is the fact that managers are HUMANS; at least, so far. As humans, they will have preferences created by many factors, among which is employee likability and EFFECTIVENESS. Their preferences will let them support, allocate a bit more dollars from their budget at the expense of other employees, and even lobby for job transfers and promotions for some of their employees over others.
Likability is a huge label containing many variables. Included in likability is employee effectiveness, that I also mentioned above as a stand-alone variable. So, if you are, or can improve, your effectiveness, you may have a “double-whammy” that will work to your advantage.
Okay…this is all getting way to psycho-analytical for me…Let’s cut to the chase. In a Nugget, to be able to command a pay raise, you must meet certain criteria that will demonstrate your effectiveness AND help improve your likability, the two factors that will sway your manager to take up your “cause”.
- Help your manager to succeed. Did I mention enough times: “HELP YOUR MANAGER TO SUCCEED”?
- Be among the more intelligent workers. How? Do extra study on your own. Take seminars/courses pertinent to your current and future job, when offered by the company, or available on your own time.
- Demonstrate how you can put information to good use to the benefit of your job, projects, management.
- Help the company make or save more money with IDEAS. I have a rule that I consider my most important of all rules for any worker of any company: if its good for the company’s success, it’ll be good for you, too.
- One more point about ideas. Even if you work hard to research or create an idea or a process, don’t get your nose out of joint if management rejects it. Not all that you create can be a perfect fit for your manager or for the company, and that’ll be for reasons that you know and that you are not yet privy to.
- Don’t let your ego make a fool of you. You will not always have all the answers. You will not always be correct. You will sometimes need help from friends, colleagues, other managers, even mentors. Be humble when facing the good or the bad, compliments and insults. Strive to what we call being “level-headed”.
- Hold the highest of ethical standards. No lying, cheating, short cuts, taking all the credit, or gossiping. Give credit where credit is due. Don’t steal or cheat on expense reports. Certainly don’t commit any breaches of law, whether on the job or off the job on your own time.
- Recognize that holding a job demands of you a conformance to a behavior that protects your employer 24/7. In other words, when away from the company, when off the job, when socializing or participating in any hobbies or activities, you do not have the entitlement to behaving freely as you wish. Don try to justify your off-the-job time with stupid arguments such as, “I have a right to because this is a Democratic Republic/Country!” Even off-the-job your behavior reflects on your employer. With a bit of thought you can easily imagine people asking, “What kind of people does THAT company hire?”
- Keep your absenteeism to a bare minimum. Don’t be late for meetings. Don’t cut work early. Don’t show up late for work. Don’t take too many sick days.
- Manage your moods. We can’t have “up” days every day. So, it requires mental muscle to motivate yourself on your bad days. I’ve interviewed a wide audience of “minor” celebrities within Canada and USA who had to face large audiences while they, themselves, were deeply affected by a catastrophe. It was “mental muscle that powered them through and let them appear unaffected by their catastrophes to their audiences.
- Be enthusiastic, but not plastic. People appreciate people who are genuinely enthusiastic, but not air-heads. Make positive comments when warranted. Smile when greeting your colleagues. Don’t complain when assigned new tasks, additional workloads, impositions on your work time, etc. By the way, I also don’t condone merely accepting every task thrown at you by your boss. Learn to diplomatically negotiate to ensure you don’t die from work exhaustion!!
- Plan your time efficiently.
- Communicate well. Send data to others when requested and on time. Send unsolicited data to others if it will help them. Be a good listener. Keep improving your group presentation skills. When writing notes, be well organized, articulate, precise, and clear. Watch for any spelling and grammar mistakes. Be proactive in updating your boss on your progress on tasks assigned to you. Keep your reports/updates brief, informative, and about only those matters and milestones that matter most, the 20% that are key items.
- Show respect to others and act in ways to earn their respect towards you.
- GENTLY and diplomatically make your results visible to your manager. Before performance appraisals, summarize your good stuff and drop a note to your boss. Participate in some of the company’s activities and social events so your boss and other managers can see you are contributing to the spirit of the company.
- “Drive in your lane and leave room for others to pass”. That’s my admonition to those who are hell-bent on trying to change the system to make the system adapt to the individual. Instead, stick to your tasks/roles/responsibilities and don’t try to act in ways that can be interpreted as you doing someone else’s job/task/responsibilities. If you want to veer out of your “lane”, seek permission from those who are already controlling that other “lane”. Sticking to your knitting, or seeking clarity and permission when not, will help to ensure others do not interpret your actions as a power-grab, or as a malicious act.
- Work safely. Don’t take physical risks. Do all you can to think ahead, to foresee, and to exercise foreseeable care for and prevention of hazards. Do that for both yourself and for others. Correct that which is within your own purview; identify and report that which is not.