Why do we work? The answer should be a simple one, but for some reason, we often treat it as taboo. We go into interviews eager to show our passion for the work, and our excitement over the prospect of interacting with others in our industry, and when it comes time to respond to the “why do you want to work here?” question, we dance around the obvious answer. We act as though clocking in for eight hours a day, five days a week, is the reward in and of itself. But it’s not, is it? If we’re honest with ourselves, essentially every employee gets up and goes to work because they need the money. We get jobs so that we can get paid.
And once we have those jobs, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to increase that pay. First and foremost, you should know what you’re worth to your company. Glassdoor’s Know Your Worth tool is a personalized salary calculator that can give you an idea of what you should be making, given your skills, education, location, etc. But if storming into the boss’ office and demanding a raise doesn’t feel right, there are other ways to keep your salary from stagnating.
If you want a boost to your paycheck without having to look for a new job, consider these three options:
1. Keep an Eye Open for Openings
Have you considered working towards a promotion? Employee turnover is a harsh reality in most businesses, and filling gaps left by ex-employees is expensive and time-consuming. In fact, employers generally spend the equivalent of six to nine months of an employee’s salary just to find and train their replacements.
Those open positions can be great opportunities if you’re interested in earning more pay. Get to know the responsibilities and skills associated with the jobs that you’d be interested in filling, and when an opening occurs, let your boss know that you’re qualified and ready to step in. You business will be able to save on associated hiring costs, and you’ll be able to expect increased pay along with your increased responsibilities.
2. Understand the Bonus System
Many companies offer bonuses, but a surprising number of employees don’t have any clear idea how those bonuses work — beyond a general expectation that they’re somehow tied to individual and company performance. If you’re not already clear on how bonuses are determined, then it’s time to do some research. Check with your managers to get a clearer picture, and then focus on the aspects that you have direct control over.
The better you understand the system, the better you’ll be able to ensure that you’re hitting all of the checkmarks. Of course, you’ll want to also make sure that your boss/supervisor is aware of your performance, so don’t be afraid to discuss your achievements in regular reviews. If management sees you as the example of what a bonus-earning employee should be, then you won’t have to worry about being passed over when it comes time for extra compensation.
3. Improve Your Skill Set
Sometimes the only thing standing between you and a better salary is a little bit of training or some more education. However, the difficult part can be figuring out what training/education will make a difference. But it shouldn’t have to be; if you want to know what skills you need to qualify for better pay, just ask.
Talk with management and find out what kinds of skills really set apart prospective hires. These should be the skills that aren’t, strictly speaking, job requirements (you should probably already have those), but ones that are more above and beyond. Or, if you’re shooting for a promotion in addition to a raise, check job descriptions for the positions you’d like to move into. For example, you could take business management courses, learn web development, or (if your company does business internationally) even pursue a second language. Find out what skills your company sees as valuable, and then improve your value by learning those skills.
There’s no shame in wanting fair pay for a good day’s work. If you’re interested in getting more than you’re currently earning, you’ll want to be able to approach you company decision makers with more than just a “pretty please.” Most employers aren’t accustomed to paying more without something to show for it, so put in the effort and demonstrate that you’re worth it. With these three tips, you’ll be able to improve your value, while adding improved value to your business.
More money, no problem. Simple, right?