My good friend Tim used to work as a patient coordinator for a doctor’s office in NYC; one of the largest (and most bureaucratic) firms in the city. Not exactly a place you expect things to move quickly.
He had your standard ninja duties—acting as a liaison between patients and doctors, scheduling appointments, manning phone calls. For a while, he fretted about doing all of this hard work and never having a chance to “move up.”
So, he challenged himself to take a super proactive stance for a few months and see what happened. Through that experience, he discovered four steps to position yourself for a raise, even in a massive corporation. Keep in mind, Tim wasn’t doing these things just to get a raise. If he had, you can be sure the people around him would have been able to tell in no time! Make a genuine effort with these helpful tips and you’ll not only stand a chance of getting a boost to your salary, but make going to work a happier and more enjoyable experience for everyone.
Get to Know Your Colleagues Personally
This may seem like a no-brainer, but all too often we get so caught up in work we don’t take the time to connect with our co-workers. This is especially true if you don’t particularly like where you’re working.
Your colleagues can be your greatest allies when trying to get a bigger piece of the pie. All you have to do is give them the TLC and attention they desire.
Tim went out of his way to find out his colleagues’ birthdays and always did a little something for them on those days. Nothing fancy or expensive; just enough to show he cared.
He also took the time to find out their significant others’ names, childrens’ names, and the names of any other important people in their lives. He asked about them frequently and kept the conversation about them.
Finally, whenever an issue arose, he was open and honest. And if they ever had beef with him, he got to the root of the problem, took responsibility accordingly, and did what needed to be done. To say the least, that usually went over pretty well.
Make Clients Need You
More obvious advice? Perhaps… but Tim leveraged his relationship with his clients heavily when negotiating higher pay.
Here’s what he did: because he was the patient liaison, he got to know each client personally. Just like with his coworkers, he knew about their personal lives (just what they told him, of course) and always asked how they and their families were doing.
I should note: Tim worked in a pain management clinic, where everyone had debilitating conditions and were not in the happiest of moods. His personal touch made their day and endeared them to him.
They even started to request talking to him over other employees. They would send emails praising him to the higher-ups. And, overall, they were happy to see him when they came into the office.
You can bet this payed off beautifully when he finally approached his boss to discuss a higher rate. He brought a lot of value to the office and they knew it!
Be Transparent About Getting Things Done
One of the biggest walls between managers and employees is trust in getting things done. Managers struggle with being too micromanage-y vs. too loose and not seeing results. It’s a fine balance and takes practice to walk it well!
Whether you’re a manager or an employee, you can improve this situation by promoting full transparency in the office.
Tim made the decision to create visible to-do lists at his desk. When he arrived in the morning he would write them out, and very clearly cross things out as he was finishing them.
Then, when he completed everything for the day, he would reach out to the doctors and managers to see if they needed anything else done. Usually, they had an “emergency task,” and he was able to get to it quickly.
Ironically, this actually took less time out of his day than when he didn’t make a list or talk to people. He found he finished his work more quickly and had more time to focus on other things. He even got a few side projects done with his extra time.
The beauty of this was, every doctor knew they could rely on him. Every manager felt the same way, too. He was a huge asset to the office and they wanted to keep him around.
Tell Everyone How Awesome You Are (Sneakily)
Okay, this might be the hardest suggestion. But it’s also one of the most effective things you can do.
You know how I was talking about all of those things you can do to endear yourself to the customers, colleagues, managers, and doctors? Well, stories of your awesomeness might not always make it to the people who need to hear it. That’s where you come in!
Tim often received emails, letters, and phone calls where people gave him great testimonials. They gushed praise about how lovely he is and how much they appreciated him being at the office.
He always asked them politely to share that information with his bosses, but they usually didn’t follow through. No one likes taking extra steps!
So, he started doing a few things:
He’d forward any emails with praise to the decision makers in his office. To make it less overt, he’d type “FYI” in the subject line, and “I just wanted to share this with you” in the body. “Look how awesome I am” turned out to be a bit much!
If someone called him, he would ask if they’d mind taking a few seconds right now to share their words with a manager. If they said yes, and his boss was available to take a call, he’d transfer the call to their office.
He’d share any physical pieces like cards or even gifts with the staff and managers (even if there wasn’t praise.) They were thrilled to get little treats and saw first hand just how much the customers valued him.
All these steps got his managers paying attention to him. They saw his value and he gained the confidence to ask for a raise.
Get What You Deserve!
Through all of his efforts, Tim managed to secure a meeting with his boss and the head doctor in a matter of six months. While he had been working there longer, it only took six months from the time he hunkered down and started taking specific action.
He told them he loved working there, he was eager to take on more responsibility in his position and make more money. They recognized what he brought to the table and let him draft up a proposal.
After going back and forth for a while, they ultimately came up with an arrangement that netted him a much nicer salary with a few more responsibilities he really wanted to take on. And now, he’s happier than ever!
The point is, you can totally get a raise, too. It may not happen immediately, but if you take these steps they’ll have no choice but to notice just how awesome you are. Why not give it a go?
How have you gotten your raises or promotions in the past. Do you think this advice is crazy? Do you have better ideas? We’d love to hear from you!