January 22, 2014

How to avoid nasty surprises at salary review time

Salary Negotiation Tips
Salary Negotiation Tips

A recent survey conducted by TMP indicated that about 50% of Australian workers believe they’re not getting a fair deal at their salary review time; and 75% of workers feel that their salary does not accurately reflect the work they do.

Understandably, we lay the responsibility of our salary short-falls squarely on the shoulders of the employers, however, there are definitely times when we can influence how much we earn. By being pro-active and showing some organisational nous you can increase your say in terms of your earning capacity and avoid those negative salary review surprises.

Here’s what to do:

1. Do not make the mistake of relying entirely on your manager to closely monitor your achievements/progress. Some managers might have the time to do this, but most are too busy doing other things. Regardless of whether your organization has a formal individual performance management plan in place make sure you closely monitor your own progress. Track your achievements by writing them down in your work diary. Do not just include your major achievements either. Smaller achievements when added up over a year or six months look very impressive.

By doing this you will at salary review time be able to produce a detailed and accurate record of all your achievements for the year. Such information is difficult to refute, especially by managers who haven’t been managing you properly.

2. Be sure you stay abreast of all the important changes and priorities of the organization. By knowing what’s important for the organization or section your work in you will be able to make better quality decisions; i.e., decisions which are more relevant and useful to your employer. Few things impress a manager more than an employee coming up with timely solutions that address an organisational priority.

3. Make sure you record your invisible but important contributions. Invisible contributions are those little things, which we generally do everyday and make a huge contribution to the running of the organization. They’re called invisible because no one knows you’ve done them and they’re important because without them the organization cannot function properly. All too often we’re not given any recognition for our invisible contributions. So it’s up to you to begin recording them along with your other achievements mentioned in section 1 above.

An example is: successfully handling an irate customer over the phone and thereby not losing them as a customer, not to mention preventing potential bad mouthing of your organisation (what could be more important to your employer?). Another example is providing consistently excellent customer service by doing the little things such as returning calls on time, taking the time to listen properly and explaining things clearly. If you think about it the list is virtually endless.

The key to recording invisible contributions is mentioning the outcome/s of your actions. Saying you diffused a difficult situation does not have the same impact as saying: “As a result of calming the customer down I was able to retain him on our books.”

4. Be sure that your manager is aware of your achievements and contributions on an on-going basis. Do not wait until salary review time before you surprise them with all your great work. A good manager should be having regular meetings with you to discuss your work, but unfortunately this does not always happen. So it’s up to you to make sure they’re kept informed of what you’re doing. Keeping them informed does not have to take place in formal situations. It can be as simple as mentioning it over the water cooler or sending them a quick email.

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