• You may never get a raise if you sit around waiting for one.
• Instead, find out how much your work is worth to your company.
• Track your salary for that work in a “report card” so you have leverage when you’re asking for more.
If you’ve been working hard for a long time, you probably feel like you deserve a raise. Even if you do, one way to guarantee you won’t get one is to simply expect it to happen.
In fact, it’s up to you to track your performance and ensure that your compensation reflects it, said Joanne Bradford, chief marketing officer of online lender SoFi, on a recent episode of the “So Money” podcast.
It’s like a report card, the former Microsoft and Yahoo executive told host Farnoosh Torabi. Rather than assigning grades, you place monetary value on your work as it relates to the company, and perhaps even your industry.
“I think that there are several dimensions to that report card, it’s how much you’re paid in your job and how you’re doing against the curve. Who wouldn’t want to be paid on a curve, especially if you’re at the top of it?” said Bradford.
“I always liked to see what my contribution to the company was and how much value I could add to the company, and then how much money I had, because it’s really about your freedom and your choices,” she said.
At one of her jobs, knowing exactly what she brought to the table gave Bradford the confidence to stand her ground.
“In asking for raise … there [was] an opportunity where my direct boss left the job and I was the natural candidate. Pretty much, unanimously, people believed that I could do the job, my supervisors, my peers. There wasn’t really any question about it.
“What they wanted to do was to have me take the job and then give me a raise at a future date when I proved myself. I was really adamant at that point in time that I would not accept that, that in fact I needed the compensation, the validation, the title, and without those things, that I would not take the job.
Bradford added that although taking this approach was risky, it paid off. “Nerve-racking as it was, it was really rewarding,” she said.
Ultimately, it’s about using tools like the report card to be your own greatest advocate, said Bradford. Just as a high school student who earned straight As would show their report card to ask for more allowance or a later curfew, employees need to present a record of their valued work when asking for a raise.
“I think there are very specific and important moments of leverage in life and it’s a shame to miss them and most people don’t realize what they are,” Bradford said. “I think you have to pick your moment, and if your work quality and the results and the need of the company align, then don’t miss that.”