(Photo by Steve Frost - Source ThinkStock)
(Photo by Steve Frost - Source ThinkStock)

One of the things I realized early in my working life was how to evaluate what I was worth in direct relationship to my job and responsibilities. Granted, that realization was only on my side of the table, but I soon realized that those in charge of the purse strings weren’t always aware of my best efforts and contribution to the company.

How to Evaluate Yourself

I usually started by comparing my efforts with someone below my pay grade and someone above my pay grade. Based on personal observation did it seem they were each paid according to their production? If not, then I looked for areas that production increased but compensation didn’t.

Then I compared that to my own production. Did my production in the grand scheme of things warrant an increase in compensation without reducing the profit margin or bottom line of the company?

If I decided that I was underpaid then the time had come to either request a reevaluation of compensation, or to decide to look for opportunities with fairer compensation elsewhere.

Three Rules for Getting a Raise

Only 44 percent of women and 48 percent of men ask for raises in pay. However, 85 percent of those who did got something. Here are three ways to start the ball rolling.

  1. You need to go in with a number in mind. It’s very hard to go up from a number that management has set. Your self-evaluation doesn’t just point out things the manager or owner is unaware of, but those things need to be translated, by you, into a worth in dollars to the company. Even if your number is high management now has a benchmark for negotiation.
  2. Plan your number. For example, if you asked for $43,600 you might get an offer of $43,00. If you asked for $43,000 then you would probably get an offer of $40,000. That’s a big difference. It’s always easier for management to go the nearest round number.
  3. Ask during busy times. It’s always easier to get a raise during a project than after it’s completed. If you are needed to complete that project then that makes your self-evaluation and your value more readily apparent to management. Always be thinking in terms of your value in dollars to the company.

Why Eighty-Five Percent Get Something

Whenever I asked for more compensation I always felt I presented a pretty good case of dollars and cents. I didn’t just walk in and ask for more money. Value is not an expense to a company. Good, loyal, employees are worth their weight in gold.

Anyone who does any hiring at all will tell you that finding someone with a good work ethic is harder than it sounds. Unless the company is poorly managed and it’s cash flow is uncertain then some form of increased compensation should happen if you’ve made your case.

If the company is poorly managed, cash flow is erratic and aren’t able to give you an increase then that should be a red flag that things might get worse before they get better. Make sure you have a current resume handy.

Some Final Thoughts

Payroll costs are often the largest expense to most businesses. However, to smart companies payroll is an investment more than an expense. Good employees produce a return on that investment and keep the company doors open. Paying them for that value will pay off in the long run.

It’s Monday — go ask for a raise.

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