I’m guessing that most of you have a financial goal or two in your vision for 2021. Whether it is to earn more, be better with spending, start investing or save for that trip you have put off indefinitely due to the state of the world!

Money might not buy happiness but it does buy peace of mind! 

Whilst saving is a big part of increasing your overall wealth, the reality is, to achieve big goals you need to increase your income.  And increasing your income is generally done in two main ways:
  • by trading your time and/or
  • trading your skills.

If you have a job of any form you are already doing this. You give your boss (or client) your time and skills and in return they give you money. 

So the trick is working out how to increase the amount you are compensated for what you give. And this is the area where many fall over.

Simply wanting, or asking, for more money because you feel you deserve it isn’t enough. You need to convince your boss or customer to hand over the extra funds.

For the sake of simplicity, let’s focus on your boss.

Every manager, CEO or business owner is under financial constraints … even the wealthiest of organisations. That is because they are constantly balancing a number of priorities when it comes to funding.

You might want a salary bump, Joe wants a better IT system, Anne needs to hire another staff member and the office needs a new coat of paint.

So what’s the best way to approach a salary conversation?
  1. Put yourself in your manager’s shoes. Take the time to understand their priorities and also their pain points. This is the most critical step.
    • At the end of the day, staff are a solution to problem and will be favoured on how much better they make their’s managers life. The more you understand the underlying challenges (dig deep), the better positioned you will be to outline a compelling ask.
    • Be sensitive to company struggles and stress points. Time your ask wisely.

  2. Understand your value.
    • How is your contribution directly impacting the bottom line? Are you bringing in unique skills that are creating a new product line? Are you managing time consuming tasks that need to happen? Are you directly selling?
    • Follow the money. Your salary comes from somewhere – generally a particularly bucket of revenue. Are you helping to generate enough revenue to justify your role in the company and the corresponding funds.
    • Also understand the intangibles that you bring to the table. You might be good at keeping a team together; are really great in handling customer complaints or have a strong personal network which benefits the organisation.

  3. Clearly articulate how the extra salary will add value to your team and organisation. It generally translates to extra responsibility. How will you step up?
    • Put your hand up for tasks others might not want to do.
    • Offer to mentor a younger recruit.
    • Suggest a new strategy which will deliver value all round.

  4. Do your research.
    • Get a good picture of what other organisations are offering for roles similar to yours. Use sites like GlassDoor; look through recruitment ads; speak to recruiters; ask people within your network who manage similar teams.
    • Also be aware of the general state of your industry and the economy in general.

  5. Be ready to negotiate.
    • There will be situations where a boss will not be able to increase your salary, no matter how great you are. It might be because of reduced income, office politics or other challenges which you might not be aware of.
    • However they might be able to offer you other benefits like extra training; flexible working arrangements; more holiday entitlements. What would be an agreeable middle way for you?

  6. And finally – plan your response to either answer.
    • How will you feel if you are rejected? Will you be comfortable staying where you are or will you need to move on? If it’s the latter, is this a good time to do that?
    • Ask your manager to commit to another salary review in six months time. Ask for KPIs or other measurable that will enable them to give you the increase. That will give you more clarity on your next steps.

Money conversations are always tough and unfortunately you need to be ready that things might get awkward. Approach the situation with a clear strategy; keep an open mind and remember that the person across from you has their own worries.

You got this. New Year. More Money!