Don’t Miss the Opportunity!

The New Year is a great time to assess your current situation and plan for the future. With that usually comes reflections and resolutions, and as you all probably have seen with the Great Resignation, many people have chosen to leave their positions. Many aspects affect those decisions, and for the rest of January, we’re going to be talking about some of those considerations here on the Crossroads Blog.  

One important component of work is money! This past week, I had a chance to sit down with a friend who just asked for a raise and wanted to share some insights from her.

Deon is an Interior Designer who works as the Sales Manager at a flooring company. She started as a Sales Associate and in a few short years has worked her way up and earned a spot leading the team. When she shared that she had prepared for and asked her boss for a raise, I was eager to pick her brain. Here’s what Deon had to say about the experience:

What made you decide it was time to ask for a raise?

Every year, I make a point to review with my boss the goals I set for myself (and the company) and determine which are met and exceeded. This year I ended up taking on new roles and responsibilities, and because of my success in these roles, it was time to ask for compensation to go along with them. I set up an appointment with the owner of the company three weeks in advance so I could prepare. I spoke with HR to ensure that what I was asking for was within the parameters of my role. I also chatted with my closest friends and explained the role changes…we all decided it was time to ask for the raise. 

What kind of ‘proof’ did you bring that you had earned a raise?

At the beginning of every year, I purchase a large desktop paper calendar and a planner for the year. When milestones happen at work, events, meetings, etc., I write them down on the calendar, so that I am not trying to recall everything that happened over the year. I also track the sales goals and policy changes I make in a binder separated by month, so I can reference it easily. 

From these sources, I prepared a two-page sheet that included the following highlights:

– Summary of the previous year (sales highlights)

– Tasks asked to complete Year-To-Date (this is where the calendar comes in handy)

– Accomplishments 

– Goals for the future (I only reveal 1st quarter goals) 

– Current Compensation

– New Compensation Proposal 

How did you dialog with them about any questions or counter offer they brought up?

After the meeting, I always send a thank you email. I then email them the highlights, emphasizing the amount asked for and my goals to complete it. If they respond with a counteroffer, I write out the new proposed compensation and then entice them with separate compensation options that are tied to performance, this way I can still get what I want. I highly encourage people to ALWAYS counter offer in written format! This way you can read it over and respond to all the points asked to ensure you have hit all your points. 

What advice do you have for others who want to stay with their current companies but feel they need to be compensated more appropriately?

Write out your 1, 3, and 5-year goals both personally and professionally. Is it possible to move up in your company with the responsibilities that you have now? Ask for a meeting with your direct supervisor and find out when you can outline the goals and accomplishments they’ve set for you. I like to check in at six months and one year to stay on track. Research what the compensation is for the position you are currently holding in your area / the position you want and slowly build from there. Talk to the people closest to you and discuss whether the compensation is worth what you are willing to contribute to the company. Pray and journal.

Deon’s conversation went well and she was able to come to an agreement that was a win for her personally, professionally, and financially, but also made sense for the company that wants to keep her and motivate her to continue to succeed. The part about Deon’s interview I love most is that she highlighted multiple times something not enough employees do: initiating performance evaluations. If your company doesn’t do this regularly, ask your manager for a time. If they do, come prepared. I, like Deon, prepare goals and questions. One question I always ask is: what can I do differently this year that would make me a better employee and a bigger asset to this company? Do not let your manager say ‘nothing, you’re doing great.’ Tell them you want to grow and ask for constructive ways to do that.

Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise,
making the most of every opportunity for the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16

Becca Christensen is a Crossroads Career Board Member and the editor of this blog since 2020. She recently moved into accounting within the automotive industry. She’s an avid reader, an enthusiastic football fan, and competitive at any and all board games.  

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