Thinking about asking for a raise but not sure how to go about it? Check out our guest post from Theresa Zagnoli, founding partner and CEO of Zagnoli McEvoy Foley LLC!
One of the psyche’s greatest fears is rejection. Ask for a raise; get turned down, ergo, rejected. It is often easier on the ego to wait for the annual handout. It is easier for those of us determining compensation, too. People asking for raises out of turn wreak havoc on the budget. Thus, the first step is to have some understanding of the company finances. Know how the company is doing financially – are there any plans in the near future for large capital expenditures? Have there been layoffs? It is important to ask what the raise structure is when you are hired. Surprisingly, most newbies do not do this. They are just happy to have a job.
Next, put your raise profile together. Dust off your job description and figure out if you have been doing the tasks listed and more importantly, doing them well. If it says at the bottom of the page, ‘and any and all other needs to make the company run smoothly and look good’ and you recently refused to stay late to help the support staff on a large project or walked past a dead plant for a month without saying or doing anything, you might want to reassess your job fulfillment. Esprit de corpse.
Determine what you have contributed to the company since the last look at your salary. Take on more responsibility with or without the raise. Once you have profiled yourself on paper, write an email to the person you want to meet with. Ask for a meeting to discuss a salary increase. Attach the major points you intend to discuss. The reason for this is that most individuals do not determine salaries on their own – even if they have the authority to do so, they will want to discuss the request with others. With your memo in hand, I am able to discuss the request with the necessary people. Thus, when we have the meeting I am able to respond with something other than “I will look into it and get back to you”. Remember that this is a negotiation – you want to do everything you can to stay at the table. Like most CEO’s, I want to pay a person as much as I am able to.
Make it easier to do so by avoiding the following ten mistakes:
- Asking the wrong person hoping he or she will deliver the message for you – they won’t.
- Apologizing. Sit tall in your chair, wear your best outfit and show up big.
- Thinking you “deserve” more money – you don’t.
- Mentioning that you need a bigger home, better car, etc. – I don’t care if you live in a cave.
- Talking about what someone else earns – not only bad taste but dangerous.
- Threaten to quit – you won’t or if you do, I won’t care.
- Complaining about your workload – try mine for a week.
- Not coming prepared – do your homework.
- Ignoring the importance of timing – Timing. Is. Crucial.
- Not quantifying your contribution – it’s all about the money.
Theresa Zagnoli, founding partner and CEO of Zagnoli McEvoy Foley LLC, is a leader in the field of communication consulting and has been providing practical trial consulting and communication solutions to attorneys and business leaders for over 20 years. Her knowledge of the American juror has made her one of the most sought-after trial consultants in the nation.