What You Don't Know About Getting a Raise

Written By: Alexandra Levit
November 26, 2012
3 min read

According to Tribe HR’s new Pay Raise Index, women received more pay raises than men during the first nine months of 2012, but men earned larger pay raises. TribeHR analyzed salary and workplace recognition (“kudos”) data from 20,000 employees at 2,200 small to medium-sized companies between Q1-Q3 2012, and found that, 7.4 percent of women received raises while only 6.2 percent of men received raises.

Overall, the Index reported that averagesalary increase for employees at small and medium-sized businesses grew by almost 11 percent between Q1 and Q3 2012. The size of the average salary raise grew from 8 percent in Q1, to 13 percent in Q2, but then dropped to 11 percent in Q3.

Peer Recognition: An Under-the-Radar Influencer

More interestingly, however, the study also examined the correlation between salary increases and employees who had received documented recognition for a job well done. It found that 85 percent of documented recognition was given by peers, and that employees who received recognition from peers were two to three times more likely to earn a pay raise.

So it’s recognition from peers rather than recognition from managers that matters most. Go figure. In any case, it has always been important to purposefully raise the visibility of your terrific contributions within the organization. But given this new information, it’s now essential. If you want a raise this year or next, it’s up to you to document as much positive feedback from your peers as possible.

Collecting the Goods

There are a few ways to do this. The simplest is to collect any e-mailed or handwritten thank you or kudos notes you receive from colleagues or clients. Store them in a folder to be shared with your manager – ideally before your next performance review. The next step is to respond proactively to positive feedback you receive verbally.

For instance, if a colleague tells you that you saved her life and her project would never have survived without your help, ask her if she’d mind communicating that sentiment in writing. If you know her well, you might also consider asking her to send you an e-mail in which she copies your boss.

Additionally, there are several online services that allow you to solicit peer comments on how well you’ve achieved your goals. One such offering is Work.com, or the product that resulted from the merger of Rypple with SalesForce.com. If your organization does not have such a system already, it’s worth bringing up. Not only will it benefit you personally, but it will enhance your reputation as someone who is striving to improve the overall performance of the organization.

Finally, if your company or field has internal or external award competitions, always apply or better yet, get a colleague to nominate you. Even if the award does not come with financial compensation, it will boost your resume and, if the Pay Raise Index is correct, will be likely to lead to a raise in the future.

Alexandra Levit’s goal is to help people find meaningful jobs - quickly and simply - and to succeed beyond measure once they get there. Follow her @alevit.

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