Careers Insight: Gaining recognition in the workplace


Looking for a payrise or promotion? Be clear about why you deserve it, don’t ambush the boss and and never issue threats

It has been another progressive year for the mortgage intermediary market and hopefully you will feel your contribution has been recognised in your appraisal and bonus.

However, with a healthy amount of recruitment activity around, you should not let your reward package for the year ahead be dictated to you.

Negotiating an enhanced package once you are part of a firm is rarely easy, especially given the English psyche makes us conscious of appearing self-interested. But not speaking up for yourself may make you seem disinterested or leave you feeling as though you are being taken for granted, especially if you do not feel that you are being paid the market rate.

Appraisal time
I suggest you do not demand a pay rise outright. Instead, request an additional 30 minutes on the appraisal agenda to talk about expectations, career plans and rewards to let your manager know what is coming. Putting it on the agenda in this way shows the issue is important to you and gives your boss time to prepare, which may make the experience more productive for both of you.

Show your employer that you are reasonable and understand what the company offers you as a whole. Make sure you have thought about the benefits package, longer-term incentives, bonuses, pathway to promotion, learning and development, and so on. But also think of the evidence you have of the average pay for professionals with your level of experience and education at other companies throughout your area in your industry segment. Talking to headhunters is one way of getting up-to-date information.

It is easier to persuade someone to agree with your proposal if it is grounded on objective criteria. It may be that the firm you work for has benchmarked your role within it inaccurately, but I believe it is easier to compare rewards with other firms than it is to lead the negotiations with a sense of injustice based on what others in your company are paid. Yes, it may feel unfair, but you do not want to give your boss the impression you are disturbing the team by leading discussions about rewards.

Discussions should be business-like and non-threatening. It is fine to ask for more money but, if you threaten to leave over it, neither of the two outcomes is great. Either you get what you want but the approach will leave your boss feeling hijacked, or you do not and you find yourself having to leave or retract the threat, showing you to be full of hot air.

Requesting a pay rise should be leveraged off what you can do for the company and so the main position to adopt is one that describes your future potential.

Do not make it about how hard you have worked in the past or a changing personal situation, such as a new mortgage or child. Talk instead about what you can do and what your future plans are for your position. Show them you have already laid out a pathway to deliver in the areas that are important to the firm.

‘No’ is not forever
If your firm cannot, or will not, raise your basic salary, remember that a ‘no’ is not for ever. A ‘no’ now can turn into a solid ‘yes’ later. You will have laid important groundwork by ensuring your bosses realise you are serious about growing your career and earnings potential.

In the same vein, however, do not allow vague promises to suffice. Agree a time to revisit the issue and what specific, measurable results are required before a pay review can be confirmed. If there are promises of any future incentives or pay agreements, get these summarised in an email and ask for them to be recorded in your personnel file.

If you believe you have made a logical and compelling case for a pay review or being considered for promotion, yet you have not been given any commitment to recognise your value either now or in the future, this should tell you everything you need to know about your next step.

Peter Gwilliam is owner of Virtus Search