Getting a Raise through Strategy

If you work in a mid sized company or larger, then the chances are very high indeed that there will be a large HR department that has spent some of its time coming up with wonderful schemes under the umbrella of 'performance management' or 'performance development'.

And you'll probably have excruciating meetings every few months to discuss how you are performing against your plan and at the end of the year have a rating meeting, which is where the chance for a pay rise and negotations on salary will take place.

Most people see this document as a waste of time and they just have to play the game - to some extent this is right, but there's the key - you have to play the game. If the company and you have a performance contract, then use it to your advantage and not theirs.

Now when it comes to salary discussion time and performance review most companies have a distribution a team should conform too - most people in the middle, a few higher, a tiny number really high, and the same lower. This means you are competing against your peers.

So what you need to do is first of all perform really well against the targets. Get feedback from stakeholders saying how well you have done and record the relevant statistics during the year so you can call on them at review time.

During your reviews, get your boss to buy into the fact you have done well (he or she should know already) but if there is any disagreement, bring out the feedback to prove you have done well. Now your boss has no room for manouvre - if you can prove you've exceeded targets then they will have to tick the exceed box.

At the end of year review, if you have exceeds but are being offered an on-track raise (probably because the boss is the team member for your team who's got the exceed level pay rise!) then you need to take this up. Companies can't have it both ways - if you have a contract and you actually deliver on it, then it is unfair to offer the average or lower increase, rather than something higher.

Make this point clearly and firmly with your boss and see if there is any room to move on the salary - the evidence is in your hand in the shape of the performance plan and the fact you have exceeded your targets. Faced with this evidence, the team big boss if your boss is not the decision maker should move and give you the exceed level - if, that is, the company cares about retaining credibility for its performance development scheme.