3 Keys to Bigger Raises & Better Promotions

job search Oct 16, 2020

Recently, a client sought advice to ask for a promotion and a raise. I shared some advice with her, that I thought I would share with all of you. The 3 keys I share in this article have proven to help thousands of people in my career earn the biggest raises and receive the best assignments at work. I hope you also find them helpful.

You need to do 3 things to impress management at your company to give you the biggest raises and access to the best assignments in the organization: 1) Do the job they want done--and more, 2) Fit into the team and organization, and 3) Communicate your ROI (Return on Investment) to management. We will discuss each key in some detail.

1st Key: Do the Job They Want Done--and More

Organizations hire people to deliver certain results. Sometimes, they communicate those expectations clearly. Many times, however, you must ask questions (preferably of your mentor or supervisor) to discover management's expectations. Organizations establish what are currently called key performance indicators (KPI) to typically measure four things:

  • Productivity: details the amount of items, services, or calls you produce
  • Efficiency: divides how many resources (time, money, materials) are used by the number of items, services, or calls made
  • Effectiveness: evaluates how well the product or service accomplishes it’s purpose
  • Quality: relates to the excellence of the service or product compared to predetermined standards

I suggest you create a spreadsheet with graphs to record 1) the metrics used to measure each of these on your job, 2) your weekly performance on each metric, and 3) the difference between your performance and management’s expectations. We will examine how to use this data in the 3rd key.

2nd Key: Fit into the Team and Organization

Each organization, and even team within an organization, creates a unique cultural environment. Management styles, executive philosophies, written and unwritten rules, and more contribute to the culture. Disruption of that culture slows production, impacts services, and reduces revenues. Decision makers, therefore, seek people who fit into the team and organization.

Unfortunately, other than possible mission statements or core values, organizations seldom communicate their culture well. They expect employees to discover the culture, especially the unwritten rules, on their own. You may learn some information by reading organizational materials, policies, guides, reviewing orientation sessions, and observing interactions at work. Organizational mentors improve your ability to fit into the organization. They share the unwritten rules, insights into management styles, and in-house relationships.

You, then, must adapt to the written and unwritten rules, the management style, or the culture to succeed. For many these types of adaptations exceed their ability to bend. If so, it is best to seek employment in an organization that will more closely match your personality and working style.

3rd Key: Communicate Your ROI to Management

Finally, you need to communicate your contributions and return on their investment to management. Today’s companies cannot maintain employees who do not generate a return on investment either by adding to revenue or decreasing costs. Most people assume that management notices their contribution.

I suggest that, once a month, you share a short, concise statement about something you did that month. You may wish to use the graphs and charts that we discussed in the first key. Use a different method each month to communicate your statement: hand-written card, email, or verbally. In addition, keep a written record of your statements and included them in annual performance appraisals and future resumes.

Include numbers, percentages, and dollars in your statements. Here is an example of a possible statement: “You asked me to improve the quality of our product. Implemented a system to spot check raw material as well as at 2 parts in the line. As a result, we reduced the number of products failing quality checks by 70% increasing revenues by $27K a year. Is that the result you were hoping for?”

This system really works. Recently, one of my clients used these keys and received both a promotion and a 4% raise (on top of the promotion) almost double her past raises. Please let me know your results.

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