Pitch for the pay rise you deserve

by Human Capital24 Mar 2014
HR professionals are accustomed to advocating for others when it comes to pay negotiations. Being at the centre of the pay process often yields great insight into the way organisations value performance. Despite this, according to a Global HR Viewpoint Survey, 84% of HR professionals believe they have to move companies in order to secure a pay increase.

National Partner at Mercer, Michael A Thompson, said HR professionals can be forgiven for believing a lateral move might increase their salary. “Employees are able to leverage pay more effectively when they move companies or positions, the fact is the market values mobility,” he said.

But securing a new job for salary alone is not always an appropriate option. So what can those in HR do to secure a pay increase without having to move on? As a HR professional you likely have all the information you need at your fingertips.

Know your organisation
Thompson says knowing what your organisation values, its economic environment and how it positions pay competiveness are key factors when negotiating a pay increase.

 “The worst thing you can do is to go in and argue that you’re just not happy with your pay. Be as objective as you can, most employers are fair, if they see an inequity and they have the financial ability to address it they will address it.” he said, “Organisations these days have a lot of external pressure effecting their ability to compensate their employees, as HR you need to have an understanding and appreciation of that going in.”

Know the market
Cissy Pau, prinicipal consultant at Clear HR Consulting Inc, said researching external market rates for your position or like positions is invaluable.
“Working in HR you should be very aware of what’s going on in the market,” she said, adding “You need to know how the internal structure of the organisation compares to the market and you should have a well-rounded picture of where you stand within that.”
Thompson agreed: “The job has a salary range associated with it, you need to know how relatively well paid you are against that pay range. If you’re in a job that’s relatively low in the pay range, you should expect to see a larger proportional salary increase compared to someone who is relatively high in the pay range,” he said.

Consider the bottom line
In building your case, you need to be able to outline what you contributed and how that contribution affected the bottom line.
“You shouldn’t be going into the conversation simply outlining the great compensation structure you created,” Pau said, “but how did that compensation structure contribute to staff retention, to the company’s revenue? For example if you know that someone at the company brought in a million dollars in sales this year and got a bonus of 5% you need to be able to apply that to your own achievements. What have you contributed? How has that contributed to the bottom line? You should have a well-rounded picture of where you stand.”

Blow your own trumpet
Perhaps the most difficult part of negotiating your own pay is talking up your own contributions.
“People in general have a hard time tooting their own horn,” Pau said. “Those that do are often not perceived well, but it is necessary to be able to toot your own horn a little bit, go in to the conversation with confidence and don’t be afraid to say what you think you’re worth when building your case.”

What next?
A pay rise or bonus agreement isn’t the end of the process. If you do manage to secure a pay rise make sure you know when it comes into effect. If you are unsuccessful, Thompson says you should ensure you know what the expectations are and what you need to do to be successful.
“Focus on performance, have clarity about the process then put a plan in place to ensure you know what the performance expectations are and what you need to do in order to get there.”  

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