The simple reality is just hoping your employer proactively does the ‘right thing’ is a hit and miss strategy at best. Among the most important steps you can take to ensure 2019 does, in fact, turn out to the be the year you earn what you deserve, include these:
1. Own your job.
Don’t just turn up to work and do what you have to. Understand the important outcomes your job creates and choose to care about ensuring those results are achieved. For example, if you work in a service role, look for opportunities to earn customer loyalty through every interaction. In other words, do more than simply meet the customer's baseline expectations, seize the opportunities that present to go above and beyond.
Taking full ownership includes speaking up when you need help or when reaching key objectives is proving to be difficult. Employers are entirely more likely to pay more to the people on their team who they can rely on to strive to do their best. Being proactive and accountable are essential values to earning a reputation for being an indispensable member of the team, who is worth paying a little more to keep.
2. Understand what you’re worth.
There is a range within which most employers are going to be willing to pay for a particular job to be done. Do your research and have a good understanding of what that range is. Access freely available salary surveys online, talk to industry colleagues and reach out to recruiters.
Next, reflect the depth of your experience and standard of your performance, and decide where within that range you believe you should be paid. As a general rule, if you have 2–3 years of experience and are a strong performer, the midpoint of the market range is a reasonable place to start. If you have more experience and regularly exceed expectations, it’s reasonable to expect your employer to be more competitive.
If you are unsure how your performance or potential is perceived, have honest conversations with your manager and colleagues.
3. Put your hand up.
Talk to your manager about your desire to earn a pay rise in 2019. The sooner they understand your hopes and expectations the better. Asking to be considered for an increase during performance appraisal time may be too late to allow you to have any direct influence on the outcome.
Avoid the all too common mistake of raising the question at the start of the year and then holding your breath for the outcome you want. Check in with your manager on how you are tracking throughout the year.
Ask your manager what they believe it will take for you to be viewed as deserving of an increase. Understand if there are skills you need to master or performance improvements you need to make, early in the year.
Work with a coach or mentor to grow in the ways you need to. Leverage your manager, but look also for other people who are able to share the lessons they have learned and guide you to achieve your goals. Be willing to look into the mirror of truth and take ownership of the things you still need to achieve in order to earn more money.
5. Expect fairness.
The simple truth is, some employers are not fair and have little desire to pay more than they absolutely have to. Unfortunately some aren’t even willing to do what the law or agreements require of them. Do your part to earn an increase, but expect also that your employer is both lawful and ethical in their remuneration practices.
Seek advice from outside of your organisation if you doubt your employer’s integrity. At the end of the day, if your employer isn't willing to do the right thing it’s definitely time to move on.