Spill the Truth: Need a raise? Ask for it!

Spill the Truth: Need a raise? Ask for it!

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella gave a talk last week about the gender pay gap that got a lot of people fired up—for the wrong reasons. Some accused him of being chauvinistic, while others insisted his comments were taken out of context. Either way, his advice was severely off track.

Here’s what he told women who might be uncomfortable asking for a raise: “It’s not really about asking for the raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along.”

I can only assume Satya hasn’t had the benefit of coaching because what he said is a bunch of nonsense.

Regardless of your gender, no one should ever take a passive approach to his or her career and compensation. Hardworking employees who cross their fingers in hopes of being recognized by their bosses are likely to find themselves at the bottom of every pay grade.

Thankfully, I read an article early in my career that forever changed my view on the gender-based pay gap. The author acknowledged that a pay gap existed between men and women, but asserted that it wasn’t for the reasons most people thought. The bottom line was that men negotiated—women accepted what they were offered.

I vowed then and there that I would always ask for the salary I deserved, and that I would encourage others to do the same.

Here are my top communication techniques to help you get the raise you’ve earned:

  • Don’t wait for your annual review. Talk regularly with your boss about his or her expectations, the budget for upcoming increases and what you can be doing to ensure your efforts will be rewarded.
  • Create a personal-results tally. At least once a month, meet with your boss to provide an executive summary of the results of your contributions to the company. If you saved the department money, reduced time spent on a process or brought in a new customer, capture and share your results. It’s up to you to demonstrate your value.
  • Have faith in yourself—not the system—and ask for the raise. Something as simple as, “I’d like to talk with you about my contributions and your plan for increasing my pay,” is a great place to start. And be prepared to present your plans for sharpening the skills that will make you even more productive.
  • Be resilient. If your boss plays the “not now” card, ask for another evaluation in three months and hold him or her to it by scheduling the meeting right away. Also agree on a bulleted list of accomplishments he or she needs to see from you before a raise is granted.

Before you act . . .
Don’t go into a salary conversation unless you’re up-to-speed on industry-specific salary comparables for your level of expertise. And don’t expect a Wall Street-style income if you’re working for a small business. Be realistic . . . and willing to seek the paycheck you want at a different company.

Need more advice? My good friend Patty Tanji, a local expert who practically wrote the book on how to ask for a pay raise, has lots of great tips on her website: http://howtoaskforapayraiseandgetit.com/

Who has a pay-increase conversation they’d like to share? Dish the details below.

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