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Top 10 Tips for Getting a Better Pay Raise

PayIf you’ve not already noticed, I have another site called Payraise Calculator. I hope you find it useful. As a manager, I used to have to calculate pay increases for my employees all the time – that site grew out of the need to make it easier to calculate.

I’d like to add some tips to the site on how to get a better pay increase. I think compensation is an essential component of any job – it’s really the root of all recognition. Getting a “thank-you” or “great job” is super – but it doesn’t always put money in your pocket.

Over the years, I’ve found pay conversations much easier as both an employee and as a manager – so here are my 5 tips on getting a better pay increase.

  1. If you think you deserve it, don’t accept the pay raise that you are offered. Managers often have discretion within their budget and can often provide better raises than are actually offered.
  2. In your review, be sure to speak to the value that you bring to the company, not the salary expense. It’s important that employers see you as an investment. If you’re a good investment, they won’t mind buying more stock in you.
  3. Avoid comparing yourself to other employees. It’s not healthy to compare yourself to another employee who may or may not be making more money than you. Managers are often turned off by this – along with performance appraisals, pay increases are a very stressful part of their job. Comparing yourself to others can alienate you more than help you. As well, comparing yourself to another employee ‘groups’ you with the other employees. It’s important you get a name for yourself.
  4. Know what the cost of living increase is for your region. If you’re offered a 3% increase in a region with a 4% cost of living increase… guess what?! You just got a pay cut!
  5. Get an agreement with every appraisal/pay increase on what your salary range actually is as well as what you must achieve in order to obtain a good increase. If your manager gives you 5 goals to get a 5% increase… then make sure you fulfill those goals and remind him/her of your success – even prior to your next review.
  6. Don’t be afraid to ask for a pay increase outside of your normal cycle. If you’ve knocked the socks off of your manager or your company, take advantage of the time to ask them to show their appreciation through a pay increase. If it’s absolutely not allowed, ask for a bonus.
  7. Know what your pay scale is for your region and for your job. There are many sites with this information, one free one is Indeed.com.
  8. If you are in a very difficult pay conflict, request a salary survey from your Human Resources department or even invest in one yourself. Salary.com offers a comprehensive salary survey here.
  9. Concentrate your efforts at work on goals that affect the bottom line. Additional sales, better customer retention, value-added services, improving processes, cutting budgets… it’s a whole lot easier to request a pay increase when you are providing solid dollars and cents on what you add to the bottom line.
  10. Unfortunately, we live in a day and age where jobs are plenty for qualified, good employees. The largest pay increase you’ll most likely find yourself achieving is the one you get when you leave your employer and find another job. Unfortunate, but true! There is always the long shot that you can get a nice counter-offer before you leave but you should ask yourself why they would decide to offer it to you before leaving instead of giving it to you in the first place, though. It should not take the threat of leaving to get the compensation you deserve.

Good Luck!

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