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Smart ways to ask for a salary increase

By Goretti Kimani | November 13th 2015

While there are many factors that motivate you at the workplace, a pay cheque usually ranks near the top. A salary can be defined as a fixed amount of money or compensation paid to an employee by an employer in return for work performed.

The salary for a particular position is normally agreed on prior to an employee’s acceptance of a job offer. Due to the high labour supply and low demand in the job market, job seekers are finding themselves agreeing to work for a fraction of what they believe is their market worth, in the hopes of a salary increment in the future.

Unfortunately for some employees, their hopes for a pay rise are dashed after years of working for the same amount of money. This is especially so if an organisation does not have a predictable salary increment plan.

Instead of hanging around the office feeling undervalued and underpaid, take a new look at your career plan and strategise on how to convince your employer you deserve a salary increment.

Career goals, however, but must be achieved within prevailing job market conditions. You must rehearse how to ask for a salary increment to avoid jeopardising your job security, and be mindful of the dos and don’ts of the process.

Some of the don’ts include emotional immaturity, where an individual begs for a salary increment to the point of breaking down in tears instead of focusing on selling his/her capacities, and negotiating for a raise based on tangible results.

A low emotional quotient has led to cases where some employees offer to compromise their integrity and dignity for more money.

Another don’t is complaining and whining about being overworked and underpaid, or earning less than your colleagues. Putting your employer on the defensive is not wise, especially when your skills can be bought at a cheaper price.

Avoid bringing your personal problems to the negotiating table, as this could expose your weaknesses, which may take away your advantage.

Also, never threaten to quit if you do not intend to follow through with the threat. Remember that while an employer may give in to your threats, the relationship is negatively impacted, affecting your future prospects with the company.

And now, the dos: There are great professional ways of asking for a pay rise. First, prepare a portfolio of your achievements to build your case. This will save you from beating around the bush. Documented evidence is better than an endless story of your positive contributions to the company.

To help with documentation, answer these questions: Have your roles and responsibilities changed? Have you exceeded your deliverables? Does the organisation have the financial muscle to meet your demands? What is the cash value of your personal contribution the organisation’s bottom line? Do you deserve a promotion? Are you an asset or a liability to your organisation?

To help you prepare for a salary negotiation, a mentor, career coach or career counsellor can be very resourceful.

Also, be prepared for a positive or negative result. Sometimes, being told no can be the best outcome, especially if it comes with feedback on how you can improve your performance and position yourself for career success.

The writer is a human resource specialist with Peoplelink Consultants.



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