raiseGetting a Raise in a Tough Economy | Career Coach Sherri Thomas

September 8, 2009by Sherri Thomas0

For those professionals employed right now, you may be wondering if getting a promotion, pay raise, or increased perks are even possible given this tough economy. The answer is “yes!” If you’ve added value and achieved results for the company in the past 12 months, then follow these five key strategies to help beef up your paycheck –


1. Focus on results. Many professionals make the mistake of focusing on how hard they’ve worked during the past year. Instead, you need to focus on results. State what you’ve accomplished to help the company save money, or generate new revenue.


For example, you may be able to say that you helped launch a new product that resulted in a 2-percent increase in market share. Or, that you implemented a new technology that saved the company $20-thousand a year.


Those are REAL results that prove you’re adding value to the company’s bottom line. When you’re able to build a strong business case and prove that you’re adding value to a company, you’re much more likely to be financially rewarded.


2. Work with your manager. Many times, people see their manager as someone who stops them from getting a raise, when realistically your boss is your greatest ally.


The key is to get as much face time with your manager as possible, preferably weekly one-on-one meetings. Focus on the results your achieving, as well as making sure that expectations are aligned and that you’re providing value on the right kinds of initiatives.


Also, when you meet for your year-end performance review, you can focus on what you’ve accomplished over the past 12 months (which is what most people do), but you should also set a vision of what you will be accomplishing in the next six months. This shows that you’re a forward thinker, committed to the company, and that you’re going to continue adding value to help the company be successful.


3. Clearly identify what you want. If you’re working for a company that’s doing well, then by all means you should ask for a raise! But if you’re like most professionals working for a company that’s struggling to stay afloat, then a pay raise may not be realistic.


Think outside the box of other perks that you could negotiate for yourself such as a few more vacation days, one day a week to work from home, or access to the company’s box seats at the next sporting event. There are always perks you can negotiate.


Identify what you really want, clearly ask for it, and then make sure you walk away from the conversation with at least one great win for yourself!


4. Keep a good attitude. Right now it’s a pretty tough environment to get a raise so don’t get discouraged if your manager tells you “no”. Keep a good attitude and respond positively no matter what.


A good friend of mine Laura Browne, author of “Raise Rules for Women” states, “The goal is to position yourself favorably so that when the economy turns around and the company starts making money, you’ll be the first in line to get a raise.”


5. Set yourself up for success. If your manager turns down your request for a raise, a smart response is to simply say, “Help me understand what I would need to do to get a raise.” Try to get a clear action plan of next steps including priorities, goals, and milestones that will set you up for success. Then, make sure you follow-up by meeting with your manager every week, or at minimum every other week, to get feedback and help you stay on track.


All companies want to keep great employees. So no matter what the economy is doing, you should always prove how you’re adding value to the company and at least ask for a pay increase. When you demonstrate that you consistently add to a company’s bottom line, more than likely they’ll do everything in their power to keep you on board.

Sherri Thomas

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