7 Steps to a Payrise or Promotion

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Thinking about a pay rise? then it is probably overdue! Many women underestimate their value in the workforce – being the unsung heroines we may not recognise our own strengths, or even ask for what we deserve.

Most women will work twice as hard hoping someone will notice, rather than simply asking for a raise. We then become disillusioned when we don’t get one, and mistakenly conclude that we do not deserve one.

So, what can we do to stand-up and ask for the pay and position we deserve?

Step 1 – Believe you deserve one

I once worked for a company that was growing rapidly, and in the rush for expansion I started to feel that I was losing control – my performance began to slip and I found I was making minor mistakes that were having major consequences.

After criticising myself and my performance mercilessly, I took myself in hand – I was an intelligent, capable women despite these mistakes. So I started to seek an explanation for why I was making them.

I listed out on paper all of my duties, and organised them under headings – including all the incidental extras that contributed to interpersonal relationships and the smooth running of events.

I compared this list to my original job description, and realised the problem immediately – because I was so efficient others piled on extra responsibilities, and because I could see ways of improving things, I had taken even more duties in my stride. I was actually filling three positions – no wonder I was making a few mistakes!

After listing the three areas of duty, I identified the work I wanted to do and that which suited my skill base, I put these together into one job description, and put the others in two separate positions. Not only did I deserve a pay rise, but I had also given myself a promotion into management too.

I was now ready for step 2.

Step 2 – Dress like you deserve a pay rise

I was already respected for my ability and intelligence in my job, but I had no idea that my appearance was affecting the way I was treated until I changed what I wore. When I dressed differently subtle changes in others began to appear – I was listened to more intently, more rarely interrupted and my suggestions and opinions were more likely to be adopted with less resistance. I was astounded at the difference it made.

Like many other people I had believed that dressing to impress was shallow, and that you should be recognised for who you are, and what you contribute, not for what you wear. I agree – in a perfect world what we wear shouldn’t matter, but the reason why it does is actually very primal.

From early times, humans have relied on dress to provide vital clues on how to behave. Tribal clothes allowed us to identify who was friend versus foe, and adornment within the tribe identified status.

Things have not changed so much – in our highly visual society what we wear indicates how we should be treated at a subconscious level – so don’t bemoan the fact, take advantage of it.

Dress for respect:

  1. Buy a good quality suit that fits you well, in a dark grey or blue (one or two good suits which fit your well are better than a whole wardrobe of ill fitting clothes)
  2. Do not wear sleeveless jackets or shirts
  3. Do not wear plunging necklines – let’s face it, it is distracting even for other women!
  4. The same goes for skirts that are two tight or two short
  5. Invest in a good hair cut and suitable shoes

If you look like you are too qualified for your position, people will assume that you are.

Step 3 – Plan your negotiation

Armed with your new image, and your job outlines in hand, it is time to book appropriate time with your boss. Chose a time when they are less stressed, and in a frame of mind to listen.

When I went in to state my case to my boss, I made sure I had other business to discuss and I made the appointment based on that other business.

Why, you may ask? Isn’t it better to be up front? I feel the same, I like to be up front in all my dealings. This, however, is one important exception. As caring as my boss was I knew that he would have some resistance to giving me a pay rise and if I wasn’t in his presence while he was thinking about it, I wouldn’t be able to change his mind – he may have made up his mind before I even entered his office.

Give yourself a break – it is better for your boss to give you a pay rise or promotion than to at some point lose you, or have a dissatisfied worker.

Gaining a pay rise is about negotiation, so think about three positions:

  1. Your ideal pay rise and promotions
  2. Your realistic position, what would be reasonable
  3. Your fall back position

What you will do if they do not give you a pay rise or promotion? How happy are you in the position? Would you look for other work or stay where you are?

Step 4 – Visualise your outcome

Visualise your meeting going just as planned, and rehearse what you will say inside your mind or with a friend. However, remember that when you are in the meeting, your listening skills will be very important.

Think about using visual aids such as diagrams to help your boss understand your proposal. Do you have facts and figures at your finger tips? Do you have a couple of proposals typed up that you can hand him. This really looks incredibly professional and shows you are serious and have put in fore thought and value your boss’s time.

Step 5 – Build Rapport

Most bosses have little time for pleasantries, so how can you build rapport? The fastest way to build rapport is to mirror your boss’s body language. Subtly sit the same way as they are, vary you pace and tone of voice to match theirs. (Don’t be too obvious about it, don’t mimic but reflecting back to then their behaviour in a subtle way makes them feel reassured, safe and respected.)

If they are laid back in a chair and speak slowly, while you sit forward and speak quickly they will think you are too eager and maybe immature.

If you sit back while they sit forward or speak slowly when they speak quickly, they will assume you are too laid back or slow for the new position.

Instead, mirror your boss’s body language and tone of voice they will then assume you are the same status as they are and therefore deserve a promotion.

Once you notice a feeling of familiarity, it is time to change the topic to your job.

Step 6 – Stating your case

Give a brief summary of the process you have been through. How you have looked at your position with the aim to improve efficiency and productivity. Discuss briefly how long you have been in your current position, and what your original position was.

Show your boss how your position has expanded and changed over time – using a diagram if necessary – present them the job position you have outlined, and any facts and figures supporting your case – whether for changes, new employees and so on.
Then describe what you want and why – give them your ideal.

To your surprise they may accept your package – with very little further negotiation, if not, have your fallback positions handy.

In my case, I gained my ideal. We then used the job descriptions to write an ad and with in a month I was managing two new people, had a pay rise and a promotion. My boss said he wished everyone’s proposals were as clean and as efficient as mine was.

Step 7 – Take action today!

Don’t wait, take action now to ensure it all becomes a reality.
Who in pay role do you need to speak to about your increased salary?
Will the boss inform everyone about the changes at the next staff meeting? If so get it put on to the agenda.
What about new business cards with your new position on it?

Write and place ads for new positions and so on. Get it all sorted, the smoother the transition the better you case next time you negotiate – make it hassle free and easy for everyone.

Negotiating a pay rise and promotion was an important lesson for me. I wondered why I hadn’t done it earlier. Once I went to work on my vision for myself it was surprisingly easy, I spent about 2 hours in preparation and 1 hour in negotiation – the highest paid 3 hours I ever spent considering the return.

So take the reigns in your hands – stop complaining to those who can’t do anything about it and take action to have what you want. You may be surprised to discover that it is easier than you think.

Pip offers a series of seminars, books and CDs. For more information please e-mail [email protected] or call (02) 994 994 80

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