Most Americans feel underpaid: Just 19 percent of U.S. workers told the career site Indeed.com they're comfortable with their current salary. Yet 62 percent of employees did not get a bump in pay or a better paying job this year, according to a new survey by Bankrate.com.
The good news is, U.S. companies are planning slightly higher raises for employees next year, according to a recent survey by Willis Towers Watson. And Ramit Sethi, the best-selling author of "I Will Teach You to be Rich," has a four-step game plan that can help you successfully negotiate a better deal in 2019.
Getting that bump in pay may be even more important than you think, Sethi tells CNBC Make It: "A single $5,000 dollar raise, when properly invested in your 20s, can be worth over a million dollars," he says, and people who get raises once tend to get them over and over again.
Here's his four-step plan to make yourself "irresistible."
If you want a raise, the first step is to be proactive: "You don't wait until your annual review," he says. Instead, start your planning at least six months before. Send an email to your manager requesting time to talk about your career at the company.
"You walk into that meeting and your only job there is to tell your boss what you're looking for and to listen to how you can do it," Sethi says. Show your manager what you're currently doing and ask how you can do an amazing job in your role.
Your manager may say at this initial meeting that she would like you to hit a particular number and build up certain skills. That's great, Sethi says. Ask for clarity, and don't be afraid to get specific.
Once your manager gives you feedback, verbally review the expectations to make sure you're on the same page. Then give your manager a heads up. Say something like, "If I'm able to hit these targets as we've discussed today, I would love to discuss a compensation adjustment. But first let me work on hitting these numbers," Sethi says.
When you walk out of that meeting, send an email to your manager summarizing the goals. And then continue to communicate: "Every week to two weeks, send an update updating exactly how you are tracking against those targets."
Fast forward six months. It's time for your annual review. When you walk in that room, there should be no surprises. "Your boss already laid out what it takes to be a top performer. You've hit those goals and exceeded them," Sethi says.
Make sure you go into your meeting prepared. Pull salary data on what you should be earning, based on your skill-set, from sites like Glassdoor, PayScale and even LinkedIn.
"If you walk into a salary negotiation without a number, you're at the mercy of an experienced hiring manager who will simply control the conversation," Sethi says.
Come armed to the meeting with the raise you'd like and comparable salary data. Also take the time to print out a list of your accomplishments over the past six months.
During the review, pull out these documents from a folder or briefcase. This reveal, which he calls the "briefcase technique," is, he says, "very theatrical, and it's very effective."
Now your manager has the sales targets you've achieved, your collaborations. And once your manager has all the data in front of them, you say: "I'd like to discuss a compensation adjustment."
You'll be in excellent shape, because "80 percent of the work is done before you ever walk in that room," Sethi says. "Suddenly it becomes irresistible to give you a raise because you actually are a top performer."
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