Get that money, honey

Ask­ing your em­ployer for a pay rise might be tricky, but it’s ul­ti­mately life-al­ter­ing. Here’s how to do it right

Cosmopolitan (Australia) - - On The Cover -

LET’S BE FRANK HERE, ask­ing for – and get­ting ­ more money from your em­ployer is the only real way to close the gen­der pay gap in Aus­tralia. And what’s that say­ing: if you don’t ask, you don’t get. We’ve spo­ken to some of the coun­try’s lead­ing ca­reer coaches, so you can walk into that meet­ing with your boss with your head held high (even if you feel like you might have a nerve­in­duced vomit all over their desk).

Ac­cord­ing to Ni­cole Grainger Marsh (Ni­cole­grainger­marsh.com), most com­pa­nies have a pe­riod set aside for as­sess­ing salaries. You just need to find out when it is. ‘Most or­gan­i­sa­tions have an an­nual salary re­view cy­cle that they ad­here to, so your best bet is to make sure you get in and prime your boss ahead of time. This re­moves the com­mon ob­jec­tion of, “It’s not pay re­view time right now,” Ni­cole says. ‘If you have taken on any ex­tra re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in your role, and this looks set to con­tinue, don’t wait for salary re­view time to come around to have the con­ver­sa­tion about you de­serv­ing in­creased pay. Any sit­u­a­tion where you are de­liv­er­ing above and beyond for a sus­tained pe­riod of time, puts you in a good po­si­tion to have the pay rise dis­cus­sion.’

That’s all well and good, but ac­tu­ally for­mu­lat­ing the words to tell your boss can be tricky, right? Ni­cole says it’s all about prepa­ra­tion. ‘Set aside time to have the dis­cus­sion with your man­ager when there are no other dis­trac­tions and you can both fo­cus on the point at hand – so a ca­sual hint dropped in the lunch room is not the way to go!’ Rather, email your boss and slot in an hour of time. ‘The first thing to do is en­sure you are pre­pared, in par­tic­u­lar know­ing what your “floor” is – or the low­est amount you will ac­cept ­ and your “first ask”, which is higher than your de­sired amount, as you will be ne­go­ti­ated down! Then, once you’re in the room, state your case clearly – what you want, how much and why. Be spe­cific, be clear and don’t make de­mands or ex­cuses. Once your re­quest is on the ta­ble, lis­ten closely to what your boss has to say, so that you can col­lab­o­rate and work to­wards a win/win out­come.’

That said, there are cer­tain things you should never use as rea­sons for re­quest­ing a pay in­crease. Ac­cord­ing to ca­reer tran­si­tion coach Robyn Greaves at The 3rd Chap­ter (The3rd­chap­ter. com), mak­ing your ar­gu­ment per­sonal is a huge no­no. ‘Re­mem­ber, you need to re­main pro­fes­sional and pos­i­tive at all times through­out the ne­go­ti­a­tion, so it’s best to avoid start­ing the con­ver­sa­tion with, “I haven’t had a pay rise since...”, “I’m do­ing the work of three peo­ple...”, or the al­ways­dan­ger­ous, “If I don’t get a pay rise, I’m leav­ing.’” Robyn says that pulling out those state­ments can un­der­mine your cam­paign for a pay rise, and may also trig­ger your boss to stand their ground and deny your re­quest. ‘Don’t start the con­ver­sa­tion by com­plain­ing, telling the boss some­thing they al­ready know or by giv­ing them an ul­ti­ma­tum.’ So, if the fact we’re strug­gling to pay off our lunch­time shop­ping pur­chases isn’t a good enough rea­son to get more cashola in our bank ac­count, what should we be fo­cused on when re­quest­ing a pay in­crease? Ac­cord­ing to Faye Hol­lands, ca­reer coach at Out­shine Con­sult­ing (Out­shine con­sult­ing.com.au), it’s all about how we’ve served the com­pany.

‘The key points you need to highlight if you want to get a pay rise are: how have you made or saved money for the or­gan­i­sa­tion? How have you added value? And what prob­lems have you solved? When you can highlight how you’ve not just done your day­to­day job, but ac­tu­ally added true value to your team or busi­ness, you be­come a much more im­por­tant as­set and are there­fore worth more, mak­ing it much eas­ier to get a pay rise,’ Faye ex­plains. ‘The prob­lem many peo­ple have is that they haven’t spent time think­ing about where they’ve added true value, and in­stead base the rea­sons for want­ing a pay rise on how long they’ve been at the com­pany, for ex­am­ple, or be­cause they think they’re worth more with­out back­ing it up with quan­tifi­able, real re­sults.’ So if you man­aged to land a client who had pre­vi­ously been spend­ing with a com­peti­tor, or worked out a way to cut costs and save the busi­ness a sub­stan­tial amount of money, these are things you need to highlight to your man­ager. Ba­si­cally, your boss needs to see that you’re worth the ex­tra cash.

‘Be spe­cific, be clear and don’t make de­mands or ex­cuses’

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