Workplace compensation is a touchy subject. Most of us have been here: work for a company for years and be recognized as a top performer, then an external hire comes in and you hear through the grapevines that they out-earn you significantly.
While there is the implicitly understanding that workplace compensation is never perfectly egalitarian, and people have advantages based on the status of their previous employer, Ivy League education or even “he/she is friends with the big boss”
When you learn that someone in a job similar to yours is paid more than you, it’s natural to feel angry or frustrated, but then what do you do?
Yesterday, I shared the first 3 tips in my video here, and here are the 3 final tips to move beyond these feelings and ultimately negotiate a raise for yourself.
- Put the ball in your manager’s court: How you found out about the pay gap – whether through the rumor mill or from a document being forgotten in the copier doesn’t matter. What matters is your awareness of the gap. When you speak to your boss, you need to strike a fine balance of making non-confrontational but direct statements that show you know the score. Say “it has come to my attention that others make much more for doing the same job” rather than “I know person y is earning x.” Then cap that with something like “I’ve been working hard and I love working here. What can I do to improve my chances of getting a raise at my next review? This tactic puts your boss on notice and lets them know you are not going to be placated with a tiny raise.
- Document everything: Create a folder in your drive and begin to document every kudos, every fire emoji for work well done, every high ROI project, praise from senior managers or external stakeholders. It’ll come in handy at your next review to show a pattern of consistent wins.
- Be realistic: When it comes time for your official salary review, it’s important to be pragmatic about what’s possible. The fact is that you’re unlikely to dramatically change your fortunes at a company unless you get a promotion or a new position altogether. But if a big raise isn’t in the cards right away, think about other creative ways to redress the gap like a performance bonus, extra paid time off or even additional support team members for your team. If alternatives don’t pan out, it may be time to start looking for a new job. After all, getting back into the market is always a great way to test your market value and see what you’re worth.