Karma Doesn’t Pay The Bills

Karma is a wicked beast. On one hand, there is karma for our actions and yes, we do get back what we put out. I believe in karma. However, when it comes to our paychecks, unfortunately our bills can’t be paid in “Karma”. I checked with Citibank and they assured me that they do not accept “karma” as payment.karmadoesntpay

The subject of “Karma” has to come to forefront as few days ago, Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella told a room full of women in technology that they shouldn’t ask for raises. Instead, they should trust the “system” and, better yet, rely on karma.

Not exactly a smooth move, Chester. Women are doing equal work and not getting equal pay – but this isn’t a news flash. And before you think I’m going to go on a tangent for equal pay for women, think again. This isn’t just “equal pay” or women’s issue here I’m talking about in this article. This is an issue for all of us who value our work and want to be paid for our work. I’m in the camp that everyone – woman, man, duck, should be paid for their value based on their work. Not our body parts. We have to stop demanding payment based on these items and focus on the value we bring to the employers and our impact on the bottom-line.

So how do we get that raise or promotion that we deserve?

Cultural change must happen. We cannot continue to think everyone must “trust the system” and not ask for raise. It defines common sense that any company would not want their employees to know their own worth and have the confidence and ambition to ask for raise? We need leaders who see the value everyone brings to the table and pay accordingly.

Secondly, we as employees need to value our work and be able to articulate that to our employers. We cannot just expect our employers to give us money; rather, we need to make the case for why we deserve the raise.

What we need to know before we ask for the raise are some basic tenets:

Know the value of your job!

Salary increases are typically granted only once a year, although it can depend on the mood of the economy and the demand for employees given your specific industry.

In general, there are three instances where a salary increase can be warranted.

If you’re an all-star performer and can make a strong case for why you deserve a raise sooner rather than later. If you are in very competitive industry, raises tend to be bi-quarterly. Not a significant bump in pay – but you can expect to receive an increase.

In the hypothetical, let’s say employees at your company received an average of 3% more last year. You may not want to request a 10% increase because that will seem out of scope. Realistically, you could ask for 4% increase if you have excelled over the year.

If your company has no annual increase program in place, then you need to do some homework? This is not a time to trust your gut. You need facts and figures to make your case. Consider your market, the size of your company and your geographic area. All of these factors play a role in determining your salary as well as your increases.

You can research it by talking with counterparts who are in other companies and compare notes. You can also talk to recruiters and get a sense to your true market value. There are many sites that will offer to do this; however, you may not get accurate information. It’s best to talk to others and do the footwork to make the case.

Sell Yourself, Don’t Beg For The Raise

There is nothing more desperate than to be negotiating from a place where you are defensive or lacking confidence. When asking for a raise, this is not a time to beg for money. You need to know that this about showing your value to the company and requesting that you are paid for the value you bring.

Some tactics like threatening to leave unless you get a bigger paycheck is dangerous game to play. And in most cases, backfires. Most employers realize when you play this card that you probably have one foot out the door. Once someone starts looking for a new job, it’s not just about the money. It never really is – it’s about how the company values their work. If you do leverage this tactic, just keep in mind that your standing and reputation in the company can be diminished. You may not get projects or be asked to take part in the “inner” circle any more – because again, they will remember your threat.

You want to make sure you impress upon your boss and employer that you are not looking for way out of the company. You need to make the case with the facts of your job value and sell your contributions.

Not everyone keeps track of your accomplishments as well as you do. So..this is the time to raise up those projects, tasks where you took the lead. Talk about the value you have brought to the company in tangibles ways. Showcase your work.

Consider Your Boss’s Personality and Pick Your Sweet Spot

This may be the biggest cliché of all time, but its true timing is everything. You need to find the sweet spot with your boss to make the case. Again, consider when your employer grants pay increases. It is the end of the year, on your anniversary date of employment? You should adhere to their protocols.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when asking for a raise is during their annual review. Most of the time, your boss has already written your review and an agreed to pay increase has probably been established by human resources – so you are out of luck for having any input in this process.

You need to start this conversation earlier. Find out when management begins the budget process for performance increases. Start having the conversation with your boss on or about these dates. You need to get your input into the process of the budget or you will not get the results you desire.

You also need to know your boss’s personality. Don’t just schedule a meeting, rather have a sense how they like to approach these conversations. Talk to co-workers and others who have been down this road before.

When you land the meeting, know the style of your manager. Is he/she one who likes to beat around the bush or are they a straight-shooter? Before the meeting, set the tone up front. State clearly what you will be discussing with your boss – don’t send an email title “We need to talk” –that’s one sure way to get yourself into trouble. Send an invite and be direct about the conversation. Be upfront as the subject of the meeting.

Perhaps your boss is one who holds weekly meeting with their direct reports. This is a great opportunity to bring up the subject. Again, be straightforward in this conversation. Have your facts and be ready to make your case.

If you get a “no”…don’t feel it’s the end of the world, ask your boss this simple question: “What would it take for me to earn a raise in the future?” If your boss can give you tangible goals to reach and explain to you what you need to do get the raise – then you have the ability to reach those goals and get that raise. If they cannot…then you have bigger things to consider …like have I revised my resume recently?

Karma doesn’t pay our bills and but what we put out – in our value to our employer in facts – does make the case that we can get back what we earn and deserve.

This week, BEALEADER will continue this conversation in our weekly Tweetchat on Thursday, October 23rd at 7pmET on Twitter. You can join in the conversation and bring your stories of how you have made the case of earning a raise or simply learn from our leaders in this field.

You can join the chat via Tweetchat.com or follow the hashtag #bealeader

Jennifer Olney
Over the course of my career, I have been sought after by numerous organizations to bring my talents in the arenas of sales, marketing and business development. As the Founder and Director of Business BEALEADER, I bring my experience to the table to expand the knowledge base for those seeking to find their own leader within. In 2011, I created BEALEADER to be a platform for individuals to share their expertise and leadership to make others better by being a resource of business, career and marketing solutions for those who are just starting out or maybe have a “few” years under their belt and need keep their skills fresh. In addition to the BEALEADER platform, I have developed the business units BEALEADER Business Services, which provides marketing, business development and human resource management services and BEALEADER Executive Coaching Services, which provides one on one and group coaching services to executives and individuals. These business units expand our ability and brand to make others better as we reach out to our audience with these unique product offerings. In 2014, I was named to the Inc.com list of Top 101 Leadership Speakers and I have written for several publications such as Yahoo! Small Business, Business 2 Community and others. I have also co-hosted several podcasts and in 2015 will be hosting the BEALEADER podcast for our audience as well.
Jennifer Olney
Jennifer Olney
Jennifer Olney

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