The Single Most Effective Way to Get the Raise That You Want
Sam walks into his boss’s office. “Sir, I’ll be straight with you, I know the economy isn’t great, but I have over three companies after me, and I would like to respectfully ask for a raise.” After a few minutes of haggling, the boss finally agrees to a 5% raise, and Sam happily gets up to leave. “By the way”, asks the boss as Sam is getting up, “which three companies are after you?” “The electric company, water company, and phone company”, Sam replied.
Before we continue, here are my credentials on the topic. I spent much of my 20s in the staffing industry and was a senior executive for 10 years. We launched Inspired Work in 1990 and since then, I have directly facilitated over 40,000 participants in our work and leadership programs. I work with individual clients all over the world. About half of them are entrepreneurs and the balance are hard-charging professionals.
When sitting across from a boss, it is wise to remember that human beings are hard-wired to think of something other than themselves for about 15-seconds. When we engage in any kind of conversation that involves a transaction, remember the person sitting across from you is primarily interested in fulfilling their needs and expectations.
As with all business strategies, the are no guarantees of success. Instead, it is far better to focus our energy on raising the probability of our success. All too often, workers fall back on practices that are ineffective and even poisonous towards success. Lest anyone forget, let’s call them the,
The 3 turds of income negotiation:
If you are right, then the boss is wrong. Righteousness is the single most damaging value on the face of the earth. Millions of people, as well as careers, have suffered grievous deaths because of righteousness.
Entitlement implies that just because we’ve outlived everyone else, we deserve a raise. How is that notion going to square with a boss who is looking at our value?
You want to stay but your income situation has become so difficult that you agreed to an interview with another organization. They have come back with a significant income increase. Now, you walk into the boss with that serene and beatific expression. You announce that you love everyone, but that you are going to the competition if they don’t match the offer.
All too often, a boss will smile, meet your demands, and begin looking for a suitable replacement.
There are times when this strategy has worked but it isn’t the most reliable way to thrive.
There is a Better Way!
The following strategy has produced great results with a wide variety of clients.
Raise the bar.
Ask for a meeting with your boss. Be reassuring. Be positive. Tell her or him why you like working there. Then, tell them what you want or need to make. Ask what can you do that is above and beyond the basics of your role that would allow you to make that kind of money.
Here are the most common responses:
What are the basic expectations in your job in terms of bringing in profit? If there are none, what kind of business could you bring in that would merit a pay increase? Often, fulfilling this kind of commitment can move your being viewed as an expense to a profit-maker. If you are a profit maker and can meet the needs and expectations of the role, how can the bar be raised to make your income desires all but guaranteed? It doesn’t matter whether you are working in a for-profit or non-profit environment. Both structures rely on money to operate.
Perhaps you can see opportunities to make your organization more efficient and to lower unnecessary expenses. If this is an issue, ask for a figure. How much money can you save to merit a raise in income?
Solve a Problem
Innovation and strong problem-solving skills are highly desirable in talent acquisition. Find a challenge that causes your boss to stay up at night. Identify a problem that you can solve. Ask them, “What do you want me to fix?”
When you have asked the questions on how to earn that income increase, zip it!
Remember, every time you try to explain or justify your request or point-of-view, you lose power. Let the boss ask clarifying questions. Stay on point. More often than not, organizational leaders welcome conversations like this. Ask, in detail, what you can do to become more valuable. Identify particulars such as timelines, deliverables, anyone that can help you as well as any other actions that can increase the probability of success.
Afterward, send thank you note and include the agreement.
Now, go do it.
If you secure an agreement, the process of fulfilling that value will usually change how you are perceived. I’ve had several clients receive promotions to meet their income requests. That can be easy because they have grown by fulfilling their commitment.
This strategy has brought many of my clients greater self-confidence. Stretching is good, especially when we deliver. So, treat the adventure as a way to grow professionally.
If you get a negative response indicating there isn’t room for such a deal or they are not willing to work with you, there isn’t a need to retaliate. Smile, shake hands and go find an organization or a boss that wants what you have.
Brought to you by David Harder, President – Inspired Work, Inc.
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