By J.T. O’Donnell
CNBC Make It, December 20, 2018 —
If making more money in 2019 is your goal, then you’ve got three options:
- Ask for a raise.
- Find a new job with higher pay.
- Take up a side hustle.
The first option can be intimidating. While the economy did well in 2018, the average salary increase given by employers were estimated to be a mere 3 percent. That’s not too far off from 3.1 percent, though, which is the expected average pay raise in 2019, according to professional services firm Aon’s annual survey on U.S. salary increases.
The good news is that companies are willing to give their best employees about a 5 percent bump.
“The true cost of hiring an employee can cost employers anywhere between 120 and 140 percent of an employee’s gross wages.”
So in order to get the raise you want in 2019, you’ll need to prove one thing: your return on investment.
When it comes to negotiating a salary increase, you need to see your employer as a customer. Their incentive is to get the best ROI of keeping you as an employee. When your ROI is high, of course, they’re more likely to pay you what you want. The true cost of hiring an employee can cost employers anywhere between 120 and 140 percent of an employee’s gross wages. These costs include things like training, benefits and taxes, so the more you’re able to validate how you can save your employer enough money to justify the raise you’re seeking, the higher your chances are of getting it.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when making the case for your ROI:
Quantify, quantify, quantify
The secret is in the numbers. Going through your work history and quantifying your accomplishments with your manager will make it easier for them to assess your ROI.
Of the two examples below, which one sounds more compelling?
- “I led projects that saved the company money.”
- “I led 17 projects with budgets ranging between $5,000 and $350,000. In addition to delivering these projects in an average of five days before their deadlines, I saved company costs by an average of 15 percent.”
Notice the difference? The second point offers far more context and gives an employer a clear sense of what you’ve accomplished. Quantifying your work also shows that you understand your job enough to deliver results that justify the cost of hiring you.
It’s also crucial to do your homework and find out what others with your skill sets and experience level are making in the market. Tools like Glassdoor’s Know Your Worth Calculator can be a helpful resource.
Delivery is important
Proving your worth through quantification can help you get more money, but it won’t mean much if you don’t know how to ask for it.
Make it a priority to practice how you present your ROI. Rehearse the reasons why you’re worth the extra money out loud, or practice it with a friend. The more prepared, confident and positive you are in your delivery, the higher your chances are of getting that raise. Sound too confident and you’ll look cocky and demanding. Sound too weak and you’ll look desperate and doubtful of your own abilities.
Approach the conversation with care
Simply walking into your manager’s office and suggesting a raise is never a good idea. It will only blindside them. (Believe it or not, it’s a very common mistake.) You can initiate the conversation by setting aside time to privately discuss your desire to earn more money. It’s better to ask this face-to-face. Managers find it easier to say “no” or dodge the conversation via email.
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get that raise. You’re still in good position to ask what will need to happen in order for you to eventually earn more money. Have ideas ready so that you can both get some concrete goals into place. Your job is to alleviate a pain and solve a problem–preferably one that’s a real nuisance to your manager. If you can focus on delivering value in way that speaks to the bottom line of the company, you’ll have higher chances of getting a raise.
Make sure you leave that meeting with a clear plan and timeline that you can work towards. If that doesn’t happen, or if it does and enough time has passed and the conversation hasn’t progressed, it’s probably time to start looking for a new job.
J.T. O’Donnell is the founder and CEO of Work It Daily, an online platform dedicated to helping people solve their biggest career problems. She has more than 15 years of experience in HR, recruiting and career coaching.