I’ve received a few notes and comments after publishing “How to Negotiate Your Next Salary”. Instead of dealing with each situation individually, I thought it might be beneficial to discuss some overall do’s and don’ts when it comes to talking about pay.
DO understand what factors are tied to compensation. Your salary is based upon three things: 1) the company’s ability to attract talent, 2) the company’s ability to retain talent, and 3) the company’s ability to pay.
- If the company can easily attract top talent, they don’t need to pay more.
- If the company typically retains a majority of their top talent, they don’t need to pay more.
- If they company doesn’t do any of the above, but they don’t make enough revenue, they just can’t pay more.
DON’T compare your pay to other people. As a human resources professional, I learned a long time ago that I will know what everyone gets paid. It would be inappropriate to use that information for my personal gain. Your salary needs to be about the work and your performance. Not other people.
DO think about pay in terms of the total package. Many companies today are expanding employee benefits and perks. All of those items need to be included in conversations about compensation. They cost money. Employees need to think about how much they use the benefits that the company offers.
DON’T threaten to quit over pay. Unless you’re prepared to do it. Let me offer a piece of tough advice here. Please do not give your manager an ultimatum. Sometimes, even when a manager wants to increase an employee’s salary, there are factors beyond their control. An ultimatum will only hurt the relationship.
DO plan to discuss pay with your manager. If you work in a matrix organization, then talk with both of your managers. Chances are these two managers regularly discuss your performance and compensation. Also be prepared to talk about other options that might be satisfactory to a pay increase, such as inclusion in the bonus program or additional vacation time.
DON’T stop being a team player. I’ve seen many employees make this mistake. They have a conversation with their manager about pay. The manager isn’t able to do anything right away. The employee stops doing the little things. This looks like sour grapes and doesn’t help your cause.
We are seeing an increasing number of articles saying that employees are fed up about low pay, extra work, and lack of decent increases. That’s no excuse for mishandling the pay conversation. Put the frustration aside, do the research, and present the well thought out business case.
I can’t guarantee it will get you the pay increase you’re looking for. What it will show your manager that you’ve professionally presented a compelling reason to increase your compensation. And you don’t have to say it but it will also tell them that if nothing happens, it’s possible you’ll take action.
Managers don’t like losing excellent employees. Give them the information they need to sell your pay increase.
Image courtesy of Sharlyn Lauby