Monday, May 16, 2011

5 ways to ask for a pay raise

The economic growth of Singapore is fast increasing over the past years. But the question is, are your wages growing in tandem, or at the very least, you are remunerated for the effort done, hard (& smart!) work and accomplishments made?

The point is, how do you best negotiate a pay raise? While there are no proper regulations or a structured framework, you may want to consider the points below.

Note: There is no guranteed success. The most important is to have a 2 way communication exchange between your boss and yourself.

1. Use a written document

If possible, draft a brief proposal to outline why you should deserve a raise or increased benefits. State the things you have done and thus, brought the company to greater heights. Numbers are examples to highlight the strong points across - for example, "last year, as a hardworking salesperson, I help the company achieve a 10% rise in overall turnover when I approach the niched players which are untapped markets". Make it 3S - short, specific and straight to the point but sound humble.

The key thing here is you have to be proactive in sending a note to your boss, make an appointment (if need be, take him or her for lunch for an informal setting) than waiting for performance appriasal period. Try not to wait till he or she approaches you because it may sound too sudden and you may not be prepared for it.

2. Create a stake in the outcome

Prior to point 1, think back - does your company has a benchmark, KPI (key performance indicator) or quota to meet? If you have met the management expectations, document it down in the proposal. Preferably, split into 3 parts:

(a) How well does the company perform?
(b) How well did you think you perform?
(c) Did you met the management expectations and if surpass, what's the record?
(d) How did you manage the team? (for Managers, Team Leaders)
(e) How does your boss think of your performance?

You could list down the above questions and discuss with your boss, emphasizing the need to reach a mutual conseneus and for yourself, to improve and strive further, henceforth the interest to stake a claim and get yourself rewarded. If there is a need to, you can ask for a one-time bonuses/performance fee, this depends on the company policy, subjected to her regulations. Be open and sound professional.

3. Flexible backup plan

Do you have a backup plan should the outcome not desired after placing a stake during the discussion and handing in the proposal? And if all options fail, what will you do? It will benefit you to have plan A, plan B, plan C. In other words, you can make hard copies of different proposals that tied down to various scenarios, taking into account your boss leadership style, the company culture and policy and your contribution towards the company's future direction.

For instance, if 20% pay raise is not possible, you can opt for 10% raise - backup plan A. it's always wise to have a range before the discussion.

4. Questioning

This is the point of inquiring to gather intelligence on the spot, so as to accommodate both sides. After all, you are negotiating with your boss. One alternative is to throw the "pressure" back, asking behavioral-based questions (not closed-ended) to seek a better understanding. Questions such as:

- How do you feel about my proposal?
- In what circumstances will you remunerate employees further?
- What type of arrangement do you consider such that we could mutually agree?
- I hope to contribute more but will like to inquire your thoughts on my proposal?
- What about my past performances that co-relate to the company agenda?

5. External evidences

This refers to the country's inflation rate, mean average wage of the Profession, media articles etc. Such details, though it's a psychological benchmark, it will add color to your proposal.

Usually the transition will be smoother if you are a Star Peformer in the company over the years, not just your individual performances but an overall team player who is friendly, helpful, has the right mindset, optimistic, dynamic and tactful in managing/interacting with people around. It depends on how you will like to position, at this moment right now in your company

But if you put a high wager without any validity, chances are that your end result will disappoint you greatly.

If you require any assistance on the proposal or need a chat, feel free to contact me. I can't work wonders but will be happy to sit and explore the solutions. Because every situation is vastly distinctive and unique.

And of course if all else fails, bearing in mind that you have exhuasted all options, this is probably where you may consider strategic job jumping or change career for a better remuneration package. Remember to be professional, do not threaten to leave if the outcome does not sway in your favour.

Good luck! :)

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