The performance review seems designed to put you at odds with your employer.
While you may see your professional output as a success story worthy of a raise, your manager may be motivated to rank your work as average or even below average to keep you from making that case. It’s a tricky situation to navigate but there are several ways to help turn your successes into a bottom line boost.
Understand and measure your leverage
Leverage defines your power in the negotiation to bring the other party over to giving you what you want. But first, you need to understand exactly how much leverage you have. Create a list of facts that work in your favor. Maybe you have attained the highest level of education on your team. Add that to your leverage column. Maybe you have received interest from competitors to join their teams at a higher salary or in a more important position. Add that to your leverage column. Maybe you’ve taken on new responsibilities outside of the original scope of your role. Add it all in.
Weigh your leverage against the company’s
Here’s where things get a bit more challenging. Your leverage can only do so much as it will inevitably be placed at odds with the company’s own strengths working in its favor against you. Create a new list next to the one quantifying your leverage. This will compile all of the assets working in the company’s favor. Maybe you were asked to take on a large project in the past year that you were unable to complete. Add it to the company’s list. Maybe your company is very popular and is receiving an influx of applications and would have no problem replacing you in an instant. This fact may be hard to swallow but add it to the list.
Process these facts objectively and weigh them against the points you were planning to offer for your own leverage. Learn where the company’s leverage supersedes your own. If you were prepared to bring up the fact that rival corporations have made overtures to you, know whether or not your company is currently inundated with applicants. This reality may negate your leverage altogether when your boss informs you that you’re replaceable.
Define your goal
You cannot negotiate until you know what you want. More money? Fair enough. But you should know exactly how much you’re looking for or at least have a range in mind of what you’re willing to accept. Are you looking for more responsibility? If so, be prepared to explain exactly what initiatives you’re looking to lead and to demonstrate how you are qualified to do so. But with defining your goal comes a need to understand the flip side of the coin. If your goals are not accepted by the company, what will that mean for you? Will you quit? Will you create a long term plan with your manager to work towards these goals in the future with a firm end date for re-evaluation? Knowing what you want is not enough. You need to also know what you’re willing to do if you are denied.
Also read: Negotiate Like a Pro in 8 Steps
Don’t call your boss’s bluff
As anyone who has spent time at a casino will tell you: the house always wins. More often than not, the same is true for your company. If you say that you have another offer for more money elsewhere, be prepared that your boss will tell you to take it. If you say that you will leave the company if you are not given a raise of a specific amount or a certain promotion, be prepared that your boss might show you the door.
When you give ultimatums, you are likely to be rejected as you probably need the company more than it needs you. At the end of the day, you must protect your interests and remember that it is much easier to find a job when you are already employed. Unless you have a firm offer in hand from another company, mentioning that there is interest elsewhere might be worthless or even detrimental.
Don’t Close the Door if The Answer is “No”
Many industry leaders caution that your annual review might not be the best time to negotiate a pay raise. At the end of the year, it’s likely that the budget for raises has already been allocated. As a result, your boss may not be able to offer you more than he walked into your review prepared to offer—even if he wanted to. But that doesn’t mean the door is closed. Consider waiting for your first big win in the new year. That’s a good time to meet with your employer and discuss your goals for the year both professionally and financially. It will give your manager more time to find room in the budget to reward your efforts and it will be a more positive conversation based upon one significant win already in the bag.