We don’t like to ask for what we want. We don’t like to ask for what we need. This causes many problems in our relationships as well as problems at the office. I laughed once, sitting in on a relationship class, where she advised the participants to ask for what they need. She advised that sometimes, men do this naturally. Sometimes women try to manipulate the end result without a direct request. If you cannot be direct, it is hurting you at the office and more importantly, in the pocketbook.
What would you do if you were about to sell your car? You would research to see how much it was worth. You would think about the condition of the car. The combination of these two things would drive your price. You would never think of telling someone, “pay me whatever you think is the right value for the car.” Why would you do that with your salary? You need to react the exact same way you would as if you were selling your car.
First, you need to research your value. Many websites, like Salary.com or PayScale.com can give you ideas for expected salary amounts by job title for specific regions as well as company size. It will give you an idea of what you should be making. Then you need to evaluate your own educational background and credentials. If you are , for example, a coding expert, RHIA, MBA, Technician, etc., then that should figure into your value. If your value falls short of what you’d like it to be, take note of missing classes or credentials that could help. This will factor into your planning process for the future.
Unfortunately, there is a distinct disadvantage to staying with a company for a long period of time. Once in the system, most companies have limits to the raises that they will give you, regardless of the responsibilities you take on or the promotions you receive. This is why sometimes you need an exit plan to strategically move both your career and your salary forward.
What they may not tell you is that there are ‘pay’ options other than straight pay increases. All of which you should consider asking for depending on how your negotiations are going.
A. Stock Options – These are options to purchase company stock at a set rate.
B. Performance Bonuses – Often you can negotiate for a performance bonus based on a goal in your area. These pre-defined cash bonuses can motivate you as well as help the company meet a major goal.
C. Additional Vacation Days – Always a good option if all else fails; opt for asking for additional time off. Even a boss with no power can oftentimes grant you additional paid time off.
D. Flex Scheduling or Job Shares – You could consider working a flex schedule, like for instance, four, ten-hour days or propose a job share where two people work one position.
E. Work at Home – Option to work at home all or part-time.
Companies have a set spending limit. They have a budget. That budget has to accomplish all the stated goals and achievements for that company. Similar to your own checkbook, they often run short on what they would really like to spend and accomplish. Ok, don’t go getting sappy on me now and feel sorry for your company. The truth is, they will only pay WHAT THEY HAVE TO – to get by. Most companies take a minimalist approach. The minimum amount that they can pay you to keep you is the amount they will offer. They can only afford to pay raises to the top 10% in the company. If you feel that your performance is in the top 10%, and you can justify your value, consider asking for the pay raise that you deserve. If all requests are denied, you may have no options other than to be satisfied at your current pay level or seek a job elsewhere. Best of luck in your request.
by Bethany Williams