Looking for a raise? Be sure to do your homework.
By: Sunny Freeman – Toronto Star
You might not get a raise, but salary isn’t necessarily the most important factor in job satisfaction. With the economy slumping and layoffs looming, asking for a raise might seem a more daunting and futile mission than it once was.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try – as long as you make a case that you actually deserve it. You may be in a better position for a raise than you think, says Alan Kearns, career expert and founder of CareerJoy, a career coaching company.
"Getting a raise is all about a few things … approach and business case," Kearns says.
First, recognize that it’s not personal, like much else in business, even if you have a personal relationship with your boss.
"You’re trading your services to an organization and they’re paying… They’re businesses looking to make money and at the end of the day their bottom line is to stay within their budget," says Kearns.
"Head into it with this understanding and present your business case."
Know your approach going in.
"A lot of people don’t do their homework, go into the meeting and ask their boss for something, and their boss says, `I can’t do that,’" says Kearns.
"Even if the boss likes them and wants to give it to them, they don’t give (the boss) the ammo to go to their bosses and make a case."
Ensure the person you’re approaching is the real decision-maker. It might not be your boss. Understand the politics and power dynamics of your company.
Know where you’re situated on the corporate ladder, both internally and externally. "Figure out where you are at in the internal market, (looking at peers’) salary and range," Kearns says.
"Externally, you may be the top in your organization, but in the bottom half of the sector." These factors could make or break your raise potential.
Outline a business strategy. Sell yourself. Put together a presentation. Articulate what you’ve done for the company. Especially in these lean times, talk about what you’ve done to save money and help the business maintain that bottom line.
Negotiate. You might not get a raise, but salary isn’t necessarily the most important factor in job satisfaction. "You may want to work at home, or have more travel time, or vacation or education. There is a wide range of things to negotiate."
If you follow these tactics and are still refused, it’s not necessarily a reflection of your self-worth.
"Look at why and how you’re refused," Kearns says. "If it makes sense, it could be because of timing or budget. But how you’re refused reveals a deeper message."