It is that time of year again. Will you or won’t you? And I am not talking about getting an ugly sweater from Aunt Nancy. That is a sure thing. I am talking about the review that takes place for tens of millions of folks this time of year and something you really care about — is your paycheck going to swell? Money is not everything, but it surely is something.
I wrote before about the one belief that is destroying many careers. I want to counter that by discussing how you know if you will get a raise.
The global economy is humming and companies are hiring for many open positions. However, studies suggest that some profits are down this quarter and pay raises actually might be rare, despite growth indicators. So will you be one of the lucky few?
Have you thought about what the leading signs of a pending raise are? Do you already know if your value to the company indicates a bump in pay is coming your way?
As the CEO of rapidly growing Aha! (visual product roadmap software), I have been thinking about compensation a lot lately. We do not actually wait for annual reviews to increase employees’ salaries because rewards for great accomplishment should not be tied to any specific month of the year.
We believe in rewarding performance at all times and have even rolled out a meaningful profit- sharing program this year. Employees are the most important asset a company has — and receiving meaningful compensation should be the last thing on their minds.
But we know that not every company thinks like that. So, how do you know if you will receive a raise?
The one sign that you are getting a raise is that you take more responsibility than your peers.
Before a raise comes, you are typically doing a bigger job than you are getting paid for. Take a hard look at yourself and your work ethic. If you want a raise, you should always:
Owning it means feeling a sense of accountability for producing great work time and time again. When you are in a meeting and your boss asks for volunteers, raise your hand. Take ownership of bigger projects over time and help fix tough problems to increase your value.
The most valuable employees are true leaders. They lead when all is well and absorb blame when projects go awry. They suck up customer complaints and never point fingers. This does not mean that they do not follow up to figure out what went wrong when necessary; they do. They just do not throw anyone under the bus during that process.
Great employees also deflect credit and are selfless. They know that great work results from a team effort and they remind both peers and managers of that. Teams rise and fall together, and saying, “Keith and Ashley are really the ones who stepped up,” goes a long way.
Taking responsibility is not a guaranteed driver of a raise, but it is the most important thing you can do. It gives you the best chance to shine and helps you develop additional skills you need to grow your career and be happy.
If you take more responsibility and your raise does not come, the worst thing you can do is act bitter about doing all that “extra work.” At a minimum, you gained new experience and worked on something new. You are still better for it. And you will be rewarded in time, either at your current company or at a new one if you decide to move on.
So when you are considering the year-end “Will you or won’t you?” question, look inward to yourself instead of outward to your company. And if you have not already, then take responsibility to position yourself for that fatter paycheck next year.
Do you equate taking greater responsibility with earning a raise?