If there's one thing that all employees feel they deserve, it's a raise. Unfortunately, it's never easy to talk our bosses into tossing a few cents into the paycheck pot in addition to that oh-so-rare these days cost of living increase. Not only that, but many employees are under wage freezes until the economy gets itself back on track and companies start making money again. All is not lost, though. If you have a track record of dedication and hard work that sets you apart from your co-workers, there really is no good reason you shouldn't earn a few more dollars on every check. What you have to do is give them a reason to give it to you.
What Not to Do:
It's as easy to find yourself on the unemployment line as it is to get a raise if you employ underhanded tactics to get what you want. One typical example is threatening to quit. This tactic is utterly useless unless your skills are extremely hard to find and the employer desperately needs you to stay. Nine times out of ten, the manager you ask for your raise from will simply smile and tell you that you've got to do what's best for you. They know that there are tens of thousands of people standing in line behind you, many of whom haven't worked in months, if not years, who would be willing to do the job you do for less than you get paid to do it.
This tactic, even when it is successful, tends to put you on a hot seat. You're going to have to earn every cent you get for your raise the hard way, and the first time there's a company downsizing, guess who's name is going to pop up at the top of the list. Yep, that guy down in so-and-so's department who kicked up that fuss last season.
What You Should Do:
Earning a pay increase is easy, though, if you appeal to the company's business mindset. Begin by outlining all of your current responsibilities that you accomplish every day. Note of any additional responsibilities you have taken on without having been asked, and even those that you were asked to take on after you began working for your department. Have you added appreciably to the company? Made the work flow more smoothly?
Next, look at the national average wage for your position and compare it with your local salary averages. Are you grossly underpaid compared to your national contemporaries? This information is readily available on a number of websites, and it typically is updated frequently. In fact, there are a few websites that will actually show you what actual employees really make, including wages and benefits.
Keep in mind, though, that if you are paid more than the national average, and have a bit of a reputation around the company as a griper, you can count on getting the answer “we'll see if it's in the budget,” and a good hearty laugh from your boss after you depart the office. Employees who generally keep a positive attitude are far more likely to receive consideration. If you receive less than the national average, though, and your reputation within the company is as a go-getter who spends more time fixing problems than whining about them, you have an even shot at asking for higher compensation, and receiving it.