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Gracious reader,

A close friend hadn't received a salary increase since joining their employer a couple of years ago.  They had to make a business case for an increase.

First, my friend talked with the business owner, asking for a discussion about a salary increase. The owner invited my friend to make a proposal.  My friend:
  • Made an exhaustive analysis of their total compensation, and developed a case for their role's market value.
  • Documented their accomplishments since joining the company, as they also hadn't ever received a performance review
  • Assembled this information in a binder, along with a cover letter proposing a specific salary increase. 
In the end, it was a negotiation; my friend didn't receive exactly what they asked for.  What they received made a difference; and, they felt heard, and acknowledged.
Show Me The Money?
  • "Negotiating a salary is a business transaction...Because you have six children, support your aging grandmother and your home needs major repairs does not mean you deserve a raise in pay.  Avoid any mention of personal needs when asking for a raise."  How to Build a Case for a Pay Raise by Debra Wheatman at The American Marketing Association's website.
     
  • You won't win friends and influence people when you ask for a raise 6 months into your new job.  MIT's HR website shows how many organizations handle off-cycle reviews.  (Very small or family-owned businesses may have different practices, as my friend learned:  you may have to ask.)
     
  • I'm super-skeptical of much of the "market data" you find online.  I am particularly suspicious of user-generated salary information input to commercial websites by random, unverified, job seekers.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes the Occupational Outlook Handbook is compiled by statisticians and economists, and contains "career information on duties, education and training, pay, and outlook for hundreds of occupations."
Advocato Toast
  • Managers, forestall unproductive "I want a raise" conversations by being sure that you, personally, orient new joiners to your team on policies and practices around salary increases.  (Yes, HR probably told them -- and it's one of hundreds of factoids to absorb when you're starting a job.)
     
  • True leadership means willingness to question your own beliefs.  "Benioff said he was initially resistant to the idea that there could be a pay gap at Salesforce when two executives...first approached him about the need to study the issue..."  Why one tech giant is investing another $3 million to close its pay gap, by Jena McGregor at The Washington Post.  IMO, McGregor is one of the most astute journalists reporting on the workplace.
Remix

I've been sharing new articles on topics related to earlier issues of How to Have a Job, this time, on #quitting.
Even if you do the work my friend did to make a solid business case -- and you're right, your numbers are solid -- you may not get the raise. 

You may be asking for more than a colleague makes for doing the same job, or more than your manager makes.  Internal equity is a thing, and it matters.  Sometimes, you may truly have to go elsewhere to make more money. 

Compensation is one of the most silently complicated things about running a company, and your comp is about more than (only) you.


Thanks,

Anne Libby
Perks!
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