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Four Habits that Win Raises


Four Habits that Win Raises


Like every other employee in the world, you're looking for a higher salary. These four habits can enhance your value, and make your boss happy to give you a raise.



Four Habits that Win Raises

By Jin Chen
From CommonWealth Magazine (vol. 539 )

"Should I give my employees raises? If so, how much?" Employers grapple with these questions all the time, hoping to pay out wages that are high enough to attract talent, yet not so high that they impact competitiveness.

But securing a higher salary does not have to be an unpredictable, contentious affair. The following four key habits can help make you someone the boss will happily reward with a raise.

Habit 1: Prove Your Worth

Before you enter any salary negotiations, it is absolutely essential to prove you have more value than the price you are asking.

Wages are an investment for a company, whose owner cares only about his "rate of return." In plain terms, the question asked is how much benefit does a particular employee bring to the company. How much money you make for the company, or how much money you save it, determines the price the boss is willing to pay.

You show up to work on time and finish your work when expected, but just doing your own work is not enough. Your economic situation, how much you spend on baby formula, or how much pressure your mortgage puts on you are not issues your superiors take into consideration for a raise.

The bottom line of all business applies to raises too. As senior marketing management consultant Mikey Rox asserts, "You must convince your boss that you are worth the extra investment."

To have a shot at getting a raise, you need to go an extra step beyond your assigned responsibilities, and achieve something that exceeds expectations.

Habit 2: Set Goals and Take Aim at Performance

Without goals, without extra ambition and direction for your efforts, you can end up spinning in place, mentally and physically exhausted. Whatever your goals, Forbes columnist Keld Jensen advises that you must raise your own expectations, hone your skills and work toward your goals.

At the same time, your performance must attract notice.

Looking at yourself in an unnecessarily humble light, as though just taking it on the chin and not achieving anything of note are worthy, will only "earn" you a commensurate worker bee's dead-end wage. Compounding poor impressions with carelessness, complaining, and repeated mistakes only makes you a troublemaker in your superiors' eyes, as those incapable of managing themselves can never be entrusted with major responsibility.

From inside to outside, demonstrating your proactiveness toward work is not an exercise in appearances, but proof of your fundamental capabilities.

Habit 3: Advance with the Times, Keep Learning

The more senior an employee, the more the company sees the value of that individual's experience and maturity. One that advances with the times and keeps learning further becomes an invaluable asset for the company over the long term.

Management consultant Mikey Rox suggests that demonstrating your thirst for learning and keen interest in self-improvement can work to your advantage. Whether taking on-line courses, attending seminars, or through voracious reading, elevating your professional skills on your own volition and applying the new skills and concepts you acquire to your job not only result in personal growth, but can help advance organizational efficiency and raise performance.

Habit 4: Establish Your Uniqueness

To earn an employer's favor and get a raise, you must be able to stake "prime territory" no one else can replace. Whether critical skills, close client relationships, important connections, or rare creativity, you must find ways to establish your uniqueness so that you stand out as essential and prevent being treated like a replaceable commodity.

Career management guru Renee Sylvestre-Williams reminds people that apart from finding one's market value, it is important to understand the going rates on the labor market as a measure for gauging whether you deserve a raise.

Personal development is a long-term, ongoing process of accumulation, like a baseball batter making solid contact on each pitch and looking for the next good pitch to hit.

Taking that analogy further, how much of a raise you can get depends on how many home runs you hit this year, your batting average, and your defense. If team management cannot see fit to give you your fair value, other teams or other leagues will surely come knocking on your door looking to retain your services.

Wages and talent are a chicken-and-egg relationship of interdependence. Raising wages and boosting morale attracts more and better talent. Similarly, when a team produces higher performance and company earnings grow, giving back to employees is the best way to attract qualified workers.

Greedy companies looking to save a penny have difficulty finding good workers, whilst muddling along in search of comfort and security is no way to earn the appreciation and validation of others. In the game of salary negotiations there is no way to cheat the facts.

Translated from the Chinese by David Toman