How to Manage a Salary Review

Have you had a pay rise in the last year? Do you feel that your current salary accurately reflects your current role and responsibilities, that is, do you feel you are being paid enough for what you do? Many workers find themselves in this situation, and while some workers grin and bare it, some workers will choose to take assertive action and approach their manager and ask for a raise.

If you do choose to take the brave step of asking for a pay rise, then it’s important that you both initiate and handle your pay rise request in as professional a manner as possible. Why? Because a professional approach will be more effective and increase the chance of you getting the salary you are looking for. As well as this, a professional approach will mean that you maintain a strong relationship with your employer following the negotiation, whatever the outcome.

Below, we have set out several steps you can take to negotiate a salary rise with your existing employer.

Approaching your manager

You should approach your manager in a formal but friendly way. We suggest that you do this by asking to speak to your manager in private so you can discuss a personnel/HR matter.

Pick your timing carefully and avoid making the request while your manager is rushing between meetings, and try and make the request just after you have completed a positive piece of work which you have been praised for, or straight after an excellent annual performance appraisal.

Even if your manager grants you the option of having the discussion on the spot, don’t be tempted to take up this offer, just gently decline as you will need the time to go away and prepare yourself.

Prior to the Pay Review Meeting

Before the meeting you should conducted detailed market research into what the current market rate for your role is and you can do this by looking at the various on-line salary surveys which are available on-line, such as: Seek.com.au Salary Snapshot or Payscale.com Australia. Consult these surveys and find the market rate for these positions and then benchmark your own role and salary to see if you are below the market rate. If you are below the market rate, then you may have a justifiable case for a pay rise, assuming your employer is committed to paying you at market rate.

But, to build the strongest case possible you should make more than just an economic argument case for a pay rise but also a performance based argument. So prepare a list of your key achievements this year so you can demonstrate what impact you have made on the business – try and show what you have achieved in terms of output, sales, customer satisfaction, quality so your contribution to the business is evident. This recognition based argument for a pay rise is also a very persuasive and powerful salary negotiation tool.

Also, outline any additional responsibilities you have taken on or that you will be prepared to take on if you were granted a pay rise. This increase in job scope based argument is another very powerful and persuasive justification for a pay rise.

While, it is inevitable that you may discuss your salary with your co-workers, you should tread carefully before using your co-workers salary as an argument for a pay rise because there may be legitimate reasons why your co worker is paid more than you, which you may not be aware of.

Since the meeting could be a little nervy, (because there is a lot at stake), make a plan of action before you go. This is nothing more than a little script which details your agenda or order that you will say things. Rehearse this prior to the meeting and then follow this during the meeting.

At the pay rise meeting

Most of the work has been done prior to the meeting, so at the meeting you simply present your well prepared case for a pay rise to the manager and then let your manager respond. It is unlikely that your manager will give you a yes or no, there and then; its more likely they’ll adjourn and reconvene later in order to give you their answer.

Dealing with ‘no’

Of course, your employer does not have to give you a pay rise and there is a very real chance they will say no. If so, how should you respond. Of course, the employer is allowed to pay you what they like in line with the law, so its important that you accept their decision or you risk damaging the relationship with the employer. One thing you can do however, is to ask the manager what you would need to do over the next 6 months or year to qualify for a pay rise. This is a positive win-win response for both parties.

Of course, if you are not happy with the answer, you may need to think about applying for an internal promotion or of course applying elsewhere, but this is an important career step that should not be taken lightly – and not without substantial career advice.