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Your Annual Review: Too Late for a Rise or Bonus?

As we start a new year, here’s the good news.  Demand for jobs is outstripping supply and employers are clambering over themselves to attract the best candidates as the war for talent continues to escalate. Surely that means that you are an invaluable resource to your company and can expect to get your share of the spoils, right?
Not really, and here’s the bad news. The sad reality is that pay increases are no longer automatically granted to employees as part of their annual review. And with many organisations vying to maintain their competitiveness in today’s cutthroat marketplace, you need to fight for your money. To get what you want, you need adroit planning, a keen sense of timing, and the determination to work hard.

So, before you approach your boss again, gather your facts, plot your strategy and follow these key steps to make sure you get a pay rise next time round.

What are you worth?
It’s the same eight hours in the day, but for some reason you missed out on a pay rise whereas some of your colleagues didn’t. Maybe it is time to undergo a career-audit. Think about the way you carry put your duties. Could you do better, take on more work or simply work more efficiently? How do your colleagues view your behaviour or attitude? Do they see you as the office clown, a time-waster?
If you don’t know, then you need to ask. After all, we are human-beings not human-doings and sometimes asking for guidance from a colleague will pay dividends in the long run – what goes around comes around.
Work harder
This may sound like a no-brainer but whether you accept it or not, your employer is not obligated to give you a pay rise simply because you want one. That doesn’t mean that you should work excessive hours and burn the candle at both ends. On the contrary, it is about working smarter and knuckling down to some old-fashioned graft.
So, don’t be afraid to expand your current role and take on extra responsibility. Rather, opt to do the jobs that nobody else wants or offer to assist with everyday tasks that tend to be neglected by your fellow colleagues. This will demonstrate your willingness to do more than just the bare requirements of your job description.
Avoid tardiness
The poet Edward Young, said: “Procrastination is the thief of time”. In other words, don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today. Yet, somehow you don’t seem to have the time in the day to perform your job duties effectively. Nonsense. You have the same 24 hours as Richard Branson and Bill Gates – you just need to use it more productively.
And one of the biggest time-wasting culprits is the booming popularity of social networking sites such as Facebook and Bebo. The Daily Telegraph reported the increasing number of UK employees using these sites has resulted in 70% of all organisations banning access in the workplace.
So the next time you are tempted to log on and gas-bag with your friends on the web or read the latest copy of Heat, ask yourself this question: Will doing this improve my job prospects and stand me in good stead for my next review? If the answer is “No” (which I suspect it will be), then log off, put the magazine down and concentrate on your job.
Time keeping
It is OK to arrive for work late every so often. But do you make a habit of it? Fifteen minutes here or there may not seem like much, but if you finish work on time every day then you have cost your employer 65 minutes of paid-time every week. And by the time you come to ask for a pay rise six month later, you will owe your boss over 35 hours – effectively a whole working week. So make sure that you arrive on time every day and, at the very least, make up the extra time if you are late.
Sharpen your skills?
But do your homework first. Take courses, attend conferences, and expand your expertise and knowledge in your field to market yourself as a more rounded professional. However, don’t expect to earn a bonus or pay rise simply because you have done these things – you are paid to deliver results, not to pursue your dreams.
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