7 Things Keeping You From the Raise You Deserve

You bust your buns at the office every day because you’re after big things: A promotion, more money, and the recognition you deserve for running circles around everyone else in the office. But despite that hard work, you’re still not getting what you want. You’ve done everything you can; “they” just need to recognize you, right? Well, brace yourself, you’re about to get a much-needed dose of tough love.

Ten months into my tenure with a large consulting firm, an executive told a packed room of employees that if you really care about your performance you’ll write your own review. I barely kept myself from blurting out loud “You’ve GOT to be kidding! If I’m going to work hard all year, is it really so unreasonable to expect my manager to take the time to put in writing how I did?”

Then a few months later when I got my first review, which slightly lacked in some salient details to put it nicely, I realized I was thinking about it all wrong. Maybe it wasn’t about actually doing the work for them. Maybe it was about taking accountability to engage in the process alongside them. Forget whose job it was. If I had specific expectations about the outcome, why would I leave my review entirely in their hands?

So I took on the challenge and found there are 7 simple things you can and should do to make a case for a great review and the raise and recognition you deserve.

Every Month

  1. Take ownership of check-ins. You’ve got a ton on your plate and part of your boss’ job should be to tell you how you’re doing. But their lack of organization or time is no excuse to let the check-ins slide. Every month you should be sharing your progress, challenges and accomplishments. So if they don’t put something on the books, do it yourself.
  2. Stop being so humble. You know all those emails you get patting you on the back for a job well done? Please tell me they didn’t end up in your trash folder. If your boss wasn’t copied, pass it along to show how much a co-worker or client appreciated what “your department” did for them. Or, put together a montage of snippets to share at your next check-in as “peer feedback” on how you’re doing.
  3. Know what really matters for your review. Work hard; get a good raise, right? Well, it depends on if you’re working hard on the right things. HR may tell you what great performance looks like, but they aren’t writing your review and determining your raise. So, if you haven’t already, ask your boss to break down what matters most. You might be surprised.
  4. Gather evidence. Once you know what matters most, make sure you keep track – in a spreadsheet, journal, notebook, whatever works – of all the things you’re doing in those areas. Remember, it’s not always all about you. Your review may be THE most important thing in your mind, but it’s only one of many things your boss has on their plate. They can’t possibly know everything you’ve done. Twelve months is a long time and a personal catalog will be a great cheat sheet to remind your boss of all the great stuff you did come review time.
  5. Quantify the fruits of your labor. If you really want to stand out from the crowd there’s one simple thing that almost no one will take the time to do. Quantify the results you achieved with hard numbers. Did you manage a budget? How big was it? Did you increase productivity? By what percentage? Did you lead a team? How many people and from how many departments? I mean, what sounds more impressive and legit? I “Led a project team to implement marketing campaigns and projects” or “Led a 10-person team across 5 departments to run 8 major marketing campaigns resulting in an average response rate of 35%.”

Every Year

  1. Tell your boss what you want and ask for help. I know you’re an achievement junkie, but what are chasing exactly? More pay? A promotion? Moving into another area? Your boss isn’t a mind reader. YOU have to paint the picture of where you want to go. You’ve also got to ask them for their help. It won’t make you look incompetent. It will get them more engaged and create a sense accountability to help you. A good leader who’s bought in to your vision will be your biggest advocate and better equipped to give the specific advice you need.
  2. Tell a story. Leaders like to see growth: in sales, in efficiency, and yes, their people too. When your boss sits down to work on your review at the end of the year, you want them to see you on an upward swing of personal growth, skill level and responsibility. The easiest way to do this is to create an executive summary, or story, of your contributions each year. By showing where you started the year, the 5-7 major results or areas of growth you achieved, and what you are positioned to do, take on or accelerate in the year ahead, they won’t be able to do anything but see you as a rising star. And, whether you want a promotion, to change the type of work you do, or get accountability, providing this input to your manager gives you a platform to highlight the reasons you’re ready.

The bottom line is, to get where you want to go, you have to take accountability to ensure you get there. Don’t let frustration over who “should” be doing these things keep you from what you want. Toot your own horn, get involved, and good things will come.

So, get in the game already…

Your Invitation: share 2 things that are the most important for you to start working on TODAY.

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