Everybody wants to be paid more. I don’t meet very many people who believe that their employer is paying them enough. However, there are far less people willing to do what it takes to earn more.
By this, I don’t just mean working long hours; I mean really taking a hard look at what it means to be productive. Too many people go into salary review discussions with a victim mentality.
They blame inflation, cost of living, additional personal expenses and so forth. Here are a few tips to give you a better chance of success in that discussion.
1. Understand how your company makes money.
I once had a conversation over lunch with a bank teller at a training session. Blame it on improper orientation if you will, but he did not know how banks make money. He thought they made money on deposits.
The truth is, banks make money when they lend, and spend money when they pay interest on deposits. Don’t be like this in your job. Your salary is not paid automatically and will not just increase.
Revenue needs to be earned. Understand how it is earned and your place in that process. Also understand what costs are incurred for the revenue to be earned – you are one of the costs. So this is not just about understanding how many customers came through or value of things sold but what it took to do that.
2. Understand the value you bring to the table.
Once you know how it is earned, understand your role in that process. Maybe you are part of the team that produces or sells the product or service. You may be the person managing the talent (human resource) that sells the product. You may be bringing joy to people by serving a good cup of tea in the morning so that they can go out and sell. If you can’t express your value don’t expect somebody else to be able to see it and reward you for it.
3. Go to work to solve problems not just to do a job.
Let’s use the teller as an example. He probably went to work on time and clocked out at the correct time. If he understood how the bank makes money, he may have had more conversations with customers about what other services they need. With this attitude, chances are he would solve a problem for the customer and play a bigger part in delivering value to the bank. Many organisations suffer from lack of entrepreneurial cultures. They need people who see what they do as more than a job. Rachel is an employee who came for our entrepreneurship class because she wanted to approach her job from an entrepreneurial point of view. Following the class, she went and proposed a new organisational structure. Three months later she was promoted and her salary almost doubled. Employers want people like Rachel. Your boss or CEO does not know it all. They want people who can provide solutions. Are you one of them?
4. Your personal financial circumstances have nothing to do with the business of the company you are employed in.
You may have moved to a bigger apartment, borrowed for a car, made some personal investments, etc. This is fine but it is has nothing to do with the business you work for. Keep that in mind and let money discussions remain related to the results you are bringing in. I had a short discussion with a few employers while writing this article. According to them people who are constantly in some sort of financial crisis or the other are never top of mind when considering promotions. Why should somebody be entrusted with more company resources when they cannot manage their own? Consistently asking for advances or incurring ‘emergencies’ hurts your personal brand at work.
5. Last but not least, have a compelling purpose to why you do what you do.
The company has a vision. Do you have a vision for yourself? Can you see the connection between the two? Money is not enough of a motivating factor for the long term. There is always a role with more money but not every role will give you that fulfilment. Money also tends to follow or be attracted to a vision.