Happy new year. Welcome back. Hope you had a great holiday. Hope you spent time with the family. Hope you decompressed.
Now….back to work. And time to think about your 2017 raise.
Wait, you may be saying, “I just got through the 2016 review process”….or “I just got a raise”….or “Do I have to gear myself up for that whole draining, exhausting, emotional process again?”
Yes, you do. Because I’ve worked with a lot of people – and had a lot of people work for me – over the years, and one of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen is that they treat “getting a raise” as a once-a-year exercise. As a result, they don’t properly set the groundwork for their raise in advance. That means having a conversation with their boss, early in the year (perhaps this week?) to discuss: what your success looks like, what your team’s success looks like, what your department’s success looks like, what your company’s success looks like, what is key to your boss in the coming year, and what (s)he will want to see from you over the next quarter and the next year. Not just vaguely. Instead, if something can be quantified, it should be quantified: x number of new clients, y% revenue growth, z customer satisfaction score, x new hires, y% expense reduction, x level audit scores. You get the idea.
And this conversation should not be a one-and-done for the year, but instead should be an on-going dialogue, updated at least each quarter. Oh, and keep careful notes, as memories shift over time. (Though I swear I used to remember every word of every one of my performance discussions verbatim. Literally.)
Other mistakes I’ve seen:
You don’t know how much you should be earning, so you don’t even know what the heck to ask for. This used to be a tough one. Maybe you had to interview a bit outside of your company to get a read on how much you should be paid; or you would take a co-worker out for drinks to pump him / her for information. But mostly you would just guess. Today, you can visit GetRaised, Payscale, Ziprecruiter and Comparably to get salary information, just to name a few. Hired.com takes it one step further and is actually a marketplace in which companies bid for talent. None are perfect, but taken together, you have a lot more information than you could historically get from a few boozy evenings.
You don’t have a back-up plan when you’re told no to a raise. So much of the “get a raise” advice starts and stops with “get the raise.” But what if you’re told no? (And you can be told no for a lot of reasons that have nothing to do with your performance; maybe this year, there simply is no budget for raises.)
Then why not immediately follow up with another ask, one that may not be dollars in your pocket today, but that has its own form of value? Think a special rotation in marketing, a coding class, an assignment in Hong Kong, being mentored by the new executive hotshot, flexibility to work from home, flexibility to get an executive MBA, partial payment for an executive MBA, full payment for an executive MBA, a language class, becoming part of the recruiting team, representing your company at an industry conference, a promotion, a recommendation for an advisory position at a start-up. You get the idea.
You simply don’t ask, and expect karma to take care of you. I can’t tell you how often in my experience women (men, too….but really women) simply never asked for a raise. Newsflash: karma doesn’t care about you and likely won't deliver you a raise. And not asking is a reason – not the reason, by any means, but a reason – that women continue to earn less than men.
You spend the raise. You should invest it instead. Or at least some good chunk of it. I mean it. I know I’m a broken record on this topic, but I firmly believe that investing is the best career advice that women (and everyone) are not getting. That’s because, by putting that raise to work in a diversified investment portfolio, you give yourself the opportunity to earn a higher return than in cash – and, of course, a higher return than spending it….. Not investing as much as men (the “gender investing gap”) has historically cost professional women hundreds of thousands – for some even millions – of dollars over the course of their lives. (Closing this investing gap is why I founded Ellevest.) So investing can better help you retire, of course; but as you build bank outside of the office, it can also give you more confidence in the office.
Sallie Krawcheck is author of Own It: The Power of Women at Work, out on January 17. (You can pre-order it here.) She is the Co-Founder and CEO of Ellevest, an innovative digital investment platform for women. She is Chair of Ellevate Network, the global professional women’s network, and of the Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Index Fund.
For information about Ellevest, a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) registered investment adviser and its financial advisory services, please visit the firm’s website (www.Ellevest.com) or the SEC’s Investment Adviser Public Disclosure website (www.adviserinfo.sec.gov).
Originally posted on Linked IN by: Sallie Krawcheck
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