Well, if you opened this article then the answer is probably “yes.” To some extent, we all want to earn more money or overall compensation that would put us in a better financial position. The real question really is, “what are YOU doing to earn more money?”.
I would love to tell you that if you show up to work every day, are reliable and dependable, and a top performer that there is nothing else you must do. By the way, that is already a huge accomplishment for which you should be proud! However, being an exceptional employee by itself isn’t likely going to get you more than an annual merit increase. Don’t get me wrong! Merit increases are a great incentive for performance and a benefit to employees – but they usually are less than 10% and sometimes as low as 2 or 3%, so your earning potential is on a slower pace.
If you are looking for a large increase or promotion then there are 3 steps to earning more money this way: 1) add value, 2) ask, 3) advocate
Again, being a top performer in your current role is only going to get you incremental increases. To showcase how you add value beyond your current role, you need to figure out what activities have a significant impact on the team’s performance, your boss’s performance, or the bottom-line. Those activities might look like:
- Finding a solution to a common problem that reduces error rates (i.e., costs)
- Developing a guide or training that enhances team retention rates (i.e., revenue)
- Taking on critical tasks that reduce your boss’ workload or free him/her up for higher activities (i.e., cost)
- Improving new customer onboarding processes (i.e., revenue)
You see where I am going? The activity needs to be something that can directly impact a reduction of cost or an increase in revenue. I’m sorry, but organizing the filing system in the department so things are easier to find is simply a matter of convenience. Your teammates and boss might recognize you for it, but it doesn’t count as value-adding unless that new system reduces costs or increases revenue in some way. For instance, too much time was being wasted before and now, the team can function with less staff i.e., overhead costs.
One important thing to note is that you need to demonstrate value-adding performance consistently before you move on to the next step.
Yes, you have to actually ask for the money! Now that you are consistently adding value, it is time to ask for what you want. That means you need to KNOW WHAT YOU WANT. Do you have a dollar figure in mind, or a title/position you’ve had your eye on? If not, make sure you get that figured out before you ask. This will help you feel and come across more confidently. Talk to colleagues you trust or do some research online if you are not sure what type of figures make sense for the work you’ve been doing.
In a perfect world, your boss would just come up to you one day and say, “you’ve been working so hard on xyz and I want to reward you with this raise.” Don’t hold your breath. I am sure there are urban legends where someone’s friend’s sister had a boss like that, but why wait for the unicorn? Go ahead and ask for the money you want yourself, or apply for that position when it posts.
I know this part can be intimidating. Remember, the worst they can say is no but then you can start a dialogue of what you need to do to get that raise or promotion in the future.
You’ve worked up the courage to ask for more money. You’re thinking, “this is it” – but then they say “no” and you feel defeated or maybe even angry. Here’s the thing. You’re likely not going to get a “yes” the first time you ask. Now, before you get mad at me for sending you into the lion’s den – hear me out! Most bosses can’t just make that kind of decision on the spot. They have other factors to review, budgets to consider, and protocols to follow. They most likely will say something like, “I will get back to you,” or “we can discuss this further.” That is 100% okay! It doesn’t mean the answer in no.
What you must do is make sure while they are reviewing your potential for a raise or promotion that they have all the evidence to support your request. That means you need to advocate for yourself during the conversation. When you ask you need to articulate why you deserve the raise by mentioning the value-adding activities and results we talked about before.
This is the step where many people stumble because they start talking about other things. For instance, they bring up their family/financial situation, the longevity within the company, their great attendance etc. Those things aren’t bad, but again they aren’t necessarily value-adding. When your boss thinks back on this conversation, you want him/her to remember the ways you have helped address their pain points, hit their targets/goals for the department, and your consistent ability to do that going forward.
Then, you need to follow up. Give your boss reasonable time to review your request, but then set up a time to discuss further and be ready to advocate for yourself and ask again. Use the key ABC sales principle: Always Be Closing!
Follow these 3 steps if you want to earn more money!
Now, if you are thinking:
- “I don’t know how to find value-adding activities.”
- “I don’t know how to ask my boss for a raise.”
- “I am uncomfortable advocating for myself.”
- All of the above
That means we need to do more to get you prepared for opportunities. The best way to start preparing is by building rapport with your boss and having regular development conversations. Download my free Development Conversation Workbook here:
Also check out this blog on improving communication skills and confidence.