Talking About A Raise

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about:

I sent the Dear John memo below a month ago and still haven’t heard back. My boss did acknowledge he received it, but has said nothing more. How long should I wait until I ask again or mention it? Did I say the right things in my letter? As a trusted employee I know that our sales are up over 35% over the last year.

Good Morning John, As you know, it has been over a year since my last favorable review/pay increase. At that time we talked about what my goal in pay was and where *** was able to meet me. Since then, I have continued to prove my value to *** in a variety of ways: Implementing a solid tracking system for all ****** Shipments, Suggesting implementation of late letters for past due freight bills, Acquiring & Maintaining new customers, continuing to learn more about the company and how we come to pricing customers, etc.

I appreciate your noticing these contributions, and now I wish to respectfully request consideration for a salary increase. I enjoy my job very much, and I look forward to continuing my contributions, and perhaps increasing my value to the company through some schooling. However, with the cost of living continuing to rise, I feel that it is only fair to ask to be compensated for my job performance accordingly. Thank you for your time and consideration on this matter.

Signed, Respectfully Underpaid

DearĀ Respectfully Underpaid:

Your note regarding a raise is to the point and strikes me as respectfully worded. It was acknowledged. Should you now, a month later, follow up? Yes. The only question that remains is how. By that I mean should you again send a similar written request or should you call for an appointment to discuss the matter or pop in to your manager’s office or raise the topic in passing him in the hall? Get my point?

The answer to how hinges on your physical interaction with your manager and also on the history of performance reviews and when raises are made. The impression conveyed by your question to Ask The Workplace Doctors is that you don’t frequently see your manager. Ideally interaction would be frequent with the individual who recommends or makes the decision for a raise and a time for a performance review would customarily be within six months or a year.

Also a rule of thumb for communication is that oral is less informal and a written follow up puts a message on record. You now have a choice of following up with either an oral or written channel. I favor oral because that provides immediate feedback and opportunity for interaction.

Most importantly, don’t become obsessed or alienated because you haven’t gotten more than acknowledgement of the receipt of your request. Neither should you be afraid to discuss the matter of pay with the appropriate individual. Such a discussion is an opportunity to confer about more than pay; ideas you have for improving customer contact, product knowledge, cutting waste, innovations, etc.

Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS. Is not this the kind of result that should come from constructive communication with one’s superior?

William Gorden