Negotiate that pay hike but don’t force the manager’s hand

If you have been offered another job, it could be a good time to negotiate a payrise. But that isn't always the case.

Living in the UAE, numerous professionals are on the lookout for better opportunities at work. But what happens when you do find such an opportunity and, at the same time, your current job presents a comparable opening in the not too distant future? Should you discuss it with your manager? Should you share the offer and hope your company can match it?

It depends.

Many managers and human resources (HR) professionals believe that if an employee negotiates against a standing offer from another company then (s)he should be terminated. Why? Because it is “blackmail”. Negotiating with your manager based on your performance, business results and achievements is one thing. But holding the proverbial knife to your employer’s neck with “match this or I’ll leave” is a sign that you are neither loyal nor engaged with your current employer and therefore should not remain on the workforce.

However, there are some managers and employers who will consent to match (or at a minimum raise) the employee’s package. But even in these instances, this is usually a one-time deal. If you got away with it once, do not even consider repeating it. In fact, if you did get away with it previously, I would advise you start seeking other opportunities immediately. Most employers and managers do not like being put in this position, and therefore most will begin seeking a replacement for the employee almost immediately. There is a strong possibility that you might find yourself in a position where the manager will be thanking you for your service and politely requesting a resignation as soon as the replacement is found. What you should do is have a frank discussion with your manager outlining all the reasons you deserve a raise and/or a promotion. Here’s the skinny on what you should do:

1. Preparing and presenting your case:

• Summarise your achievements and outstanding performance results.

• Focus on the key result areas that your manager considers important

• In a few short sentences highlight the value you added and why you think you deserve a raise and/or a promotion.

• Don’t ramble and don’t waste your manager’s time since that will lose you valuable points.

• Give yourself no more than 15 minutes to present your case and then listen.

2. What if the manager doesn’t bite?

Your manager may stall and brush you off. In that case, there is a strong possibility that (s)he will not give you what you want because: (a) he doesn’t want to; or (b) he doesn’t have the budget or authority. My advice in this case is to:

• Accept the alternative offer knowing you have done all you can with your current employer.

• If you really want to, you can tell the manager about any outside opportunities or offers. After all, you will accept one anyway.

3. When things go well …

If the manager begins to discuss your case, you are on the right track.

• Listen carefully to your manager’s arguments and don’t allow your emotions to sidetrack you.

• Take any negative feedback from your manager in a constructive spirit

• Move quickly to “deal-closing” by trying to get your manager to commit, so say something like “if I work on these areas over the coming months, can you promise me that my package will be reviewed and amended?”

• You are in the best position if the manager begins to negotiate the terms of your package. Any questions like “how much?” or “how about X now and Y in six months?” are a sure indication that the manager does value you and is willing to push your case forward.

• Be careful not to overestimate your worth at this stage since that is the only mistake that can cost you the better package.

• Do your homework concerning what is acceptable and within your current employer’s policy and salary ranges.

• If your manager does grant you the raise, be careful not to act brashly afterwards.

• Remain vigilant with your performance.

• Remember that in most of these cases, the managers have to stand-up for their employees with upper management so the real “thank you” is when you make him/her look good by showing the top management that you really did deserve that raise.

Layla Halabi is a partner at Learnactive, a human resource and organisational development consultancy based in Dubai

Follow us on Twitter @TheNationalPF

Published: May 30, 2014 04:00 AM


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