Negotiating a raise is one of the more unpleasant and stressful parts of holding an admin job. Sometimes, particularly in unionized offices, your raises will be set by a contract that specifies the schedule and amount of your pay increases, eliminating the uncertainties of negotiating a raise for yourself. These days, however, it's a rare admin job that comes with that kind of security; if you want more for your work, therefore, negotiating a raise is your responsibility. Here are some ideas for negotiating a raise that will help you succeed.
The first consideration when you're thinking of asking for more money is whether or not a raise is even in the budget. However indispensable you've become in the office, the company can hardly pay you more if it puts the whole division in the red. As an admin worker, you have an advantage here. Even if you don't directly access the payroll, somebody in your department almost certainly does. Checking the budget for payroll will give you an idea of whether the company can agree to a raise and how much is feasible.
The next step is to identify the right person to ask for the raise. You might enjoy a good relationship with a manager who has no authority over pay grades, and the manager who does have the authority might never have heard of you. It's a fair bet that the two managers know each other, however, so consider using your positive relationship with one to at least gain an introduction to the other.
Some companies can afford to give raises but have policies in place to govern their pay rates. This is often true in a large company or government office. In this case, the manager you need to talk to won't be your direct supervisor, or even your supervisor's boss, but whoever in the hierarchy has the authority to override company policy. This will probably be a busy person, and might even be the president of the whole company, so you're going to have to make a strong case for special treatment and a relaxation of the rules.
Making your case is often confused with pleading. Pleading is annoying, and it isn't likely to get you anywhere. Making a case, on the other hand, involves knowing your strengths in advance and offering to continue your valuable services for a more reasonable rate. Decide in advance what your terms are. Whatever amount you ask for, will you accept less? If so, how much less is acceptable? If the answer is no, then will you be ready to put in notice or go back to your desk?
Knowing these things before negotiating a raise will give management the impression that you know just what you're worth and that you aren't there to waste time. Choosing the right person to approach, being introduced by a manager who appreciates your work, and tailoring your demands to what the company can realistically give you will present your employer with a neat package and a simple yes-or-no decision that's the hallmark of a good administrative worker. Negotiating a raise doesn't have to be hard and, with a little preparation, an organized, capable worker can usually get the right answer.
(Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net)
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