What do Employees Wish for Most (And how to get it.)

By: Karen Fritscher-porter

What do many employees wish for at work? A bonus or raise. At
least that's so according to results from a recent survey
developed by OfficeTeam, a global staffing service that
specializes in placing administrative professionals. The
telephone survey, conducted by an independent research firm in
February, polled 571 men and women in the United States over the
age of 18. All respondents were employed full-time in
professional positions. Survey results revealed that almost half
(48%) of the respondents put "a bonus or raise" at the top of
their "wish list" at work.

But that wish probably doesn't surprise those of us who already
feel overworked and underpaid or are in need of just a bit more
money for personal financial reasons. But is that wish based in
reality and if so, why isn't it happening for some of us?

Well, while I can't tell you with absolute certainty how to get a
raise, I can tell you it often takes more effort than simply
crossing your fingers or putting it on your "wish list".

Your first step toward getting a raise or bonus is to tackle that
reality factor associated with wanting more money; that is, you
must determine if and when you warrant a raise or bonus. And
today's reality says that being a worker who gets to work on
time, does a good job and sometimes even stays late just isn't
enough to warrant bigger bucks in business. Neither is personal
financial need.

"A lot of people have the misguided notion that because they're
working really hard, they deserve a raise," says syndicated
workplace advice columnist and leadership development consultant
Joan Lloyd. "Or people think that because their personal expenses
have gone up, they deserve more money." Not so, says Lloyd who
owns Joan Lloyd & Associates in Milwaukee (www.joanlloyd.com).

"The bottom line is there are only two basic ways to earn more,"
Lloyd says. "And that's either increase the size of the job or
increase the level of performance."

More specifically, Lloyd explained these two factors this way:

1. If you have roughly 20 percent more responsibility and
authority in your job, you're within your rights to ask for more
money, she says.

That's because your job is more substantial and
thus truly worth more now on the open market.

2. If your performance on the job is over and above, then a merit
increase or bonus pays you for the effort and results you're
getting.

And determining if or when your performance has increased relies
on more than instinct or guesswork. Use methodology. Have a plan.

"At the beginning of every year after the performance review,
talk about expectations [with your boss]," advises Lloyd. "Ask
'What would excellent performance look like?'" she says. And
persist if your boss doesn't give you a straight answer. "Say 'I
really want some examples,'" says Lloyd. "Ask 'Does it mean this?
Does it mean that? How can I aim for a higher goal so that at the
end of the year, I'm eligible for a bigger merit increase?'"

After that, Lloyd suggests you check in twice during the year.
"Don't wait and be surprised," she says. "Check in and say 'How
am I doing against what we talked about? These are the
expectations you said (write them down beforehand). How am I
doing against them? And if I'm not at an excellent level, please
tell me how I can get there so at the end of the year I'm
eligible.'"

Then if you've been getting feedback throughout the year and
keeping communication channels open with your boss, his jaw won't
slacken at your request for a salary increase when you make "the
ask".

About two months before performance reviews, or before the
appropriate budget cycle at your company if you don't have
performance reviews, give your boss a heads up about your
specific desire for a raise or bonus. Why? Because your boss
needs time to present your case to his boss, the owner or the
human resource department and to do so before the budget has been
finalized for the year.

So be proactive and initiate a conversation about your
performance at that time, says Lloyd. Don't stay silent, possibly
indicating you're satisfied with things as is or just plain
getting lost in the shuffle on your boss' to do list.

And when you ask for the raise, don't make demands or whine but
rather be factual and make a very strong business case, Lloyd
advises. Consider even putting your case in writing so you make
it easier on your boss to restate if he must take your request to
someone higher in the company.

Your case should include previously discussed expectations and
how you fulfilled them and what results you attained. Or make a
chart showing your responsibilities at the start of the year and
your current increased responsibilities and decision-making
authority.

"It should be pretty evident to the manager that you want more
money and that you are open to taking on more responsibility or
improving your performance," says Lloyd. "So this [salary
request] shouldn't come as a surprise at the end of the year or
cycle."

And before you make your case, always have a plan B. You may
truly warrant a raise, and your boss may truly want to give you
one. But for whatever reason, a raise may not be plausible this
year at your company. So plan B could include what else you'll
settle for in lieu of a raise, such as a couple more days of paid
vacation, a flexible work schedule that allows you to work at
home one day a week or just a spot bonus.

"If you're a good employee, bosses don't want to lose you and
they feel just as badly as you do that they can't reward you for
what you're doingFree Web Content," Lloyd says. "And the thing that worries every
manager when they can't give a raise is 'Am I going to keep my
good people?'" Plan B might just answer that question for both of
you this year. And then next year is a whole new ballgame.

? 2004 Karen Fritscher-Porter

Careers and Job Hunting
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