Guru Guidance Series4 Vol3

09 Feb, 2015

Guru Guidance Tips: How to Negotiate a Pay Raise

Guru Guidance  
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Read time: 1 minute, 40 seconds

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The Scenario

With several years of experience under his belt, the mentee is interested in taking on more responsibilities. Annual performance reviews are coming up, so he asks for suggestions on how to get the most out of this process.

What is an appropriate way to solicit candid feedback during his review and discover areas for improvement? If justified, how should he broach the potentially uncomfortable topic of negotiating a raise? And, if he is unable to negotiate increased responsibilities and/or pay, how can the mentee gauge whether the timing was simply not right or whether he needs to seek opportunities to grow his career at another firm?

The Advice

Feedback and Professional Growth

  • You should work to set personal goals and expectations in advance, rather than having these conversations for the first time as part of the review. Talk to your manager throughout the year about the path you envision. How can you work together to further your growth? Illustrate how working toward these goals will help the company. Use the review as a chance to gauge progress.
  • Be knowledgeable about yourself and the value you bring to the company. Honestly assess your strengths and weaknesses. Come up with things you know you need to do better. If you’re asking for candid feedback, be prepared to receive it.
  • Can you see the review form in advance and use it to perform a self-assessment?

Negotiating a Raise

  • Do your research in advance of the review. How does your company make decisions about raises? Your manager may not directly have the authority to grant it, but if he/she is supportive, you can work together to present to leadership.
  • Reference industry salary surveys, such as through SMPS, to get a sense of what others are making, but take this information with a grain of salt. Every firm is different and it is difficult to quantify levels of responsibility and value in a survey.
  • Be mindful of the economic situation. How is your firm doing? If a raise is not in the cards, what creative benefits might be an option (e.g. Fridays off in the summer, parking stipend, help to pay for continuing education, flexible scheduling)? These sorts of things can have tangible benefits on your morale and quality of life, sometimes beyond the value of a raise.
Curious about the Guru Guidance Program? Get more info here. This is the final installment in this Guru Guidance Tips Series. Read Part 1 and Part 2 of the series.