As 2016 approaches, you may be wondering to yourself whether you’re likely to get a raise next year. The reality is, for all companies, financial resources are limited and you’re therefore competing with your peers for a shot at a pay increase. Fortunately, Accounting Principals’ holiday bonus survey can help us shed some light on what to do to show your managers that you’re deserving of extra cash.
Stay (or get) motivated.
First things first: you have to look like you care. In order to accomplish that, you must be motivated. In order to get ahead, you have to take responsibility for your own motivation. That is, don’t base your ability to be motivated on whether you’re already getting what you want. How you appear on the job is a function of your own mentality, mindset, and attitude. View your position as a chance to shine. Take each responsibility seriously, regardless of how insignificant or menial it may seem, and take pride in what you do. If you do this, your managers will take notice—and, for what it’s worth, over half of companies we surveyed say this is the biggest intangible factor in determining bonuses.
If you’re having a tough time in your position, that’s okay. Sometimes, jobs start to feel mundane. If that’s the case, try to create new challenges for yourself or find small motivators in your day-to-day. For example, maybe you set more aggressive timelines for completion of your work just to see if you can hit the goal—just make sure your work quality doesn’t suffer. Or, perhaps in your spare time, you find an area of your job that you would love to focus more of your expertise on, so you spend some time studying that area in order to grow. You never know when an opportunity to use your newfound proficiency in front of your superiors may arise, making you appear more knowledgeable (read: valuable!) than they previously thought.
Nothing is worse than having to work around negativity. Negative attitudes can be like cancer in an organization. It is hugely important to maintain a positive attitude, especially when people around you might be feeling negative. This accomplishes several things. First, when you act positive, you eventually feel positive, which will make acting positive easier and so forth. Second, managers notice employees who are positive. Positive people encourage others to be positive; good managers know to keep enthusiastic and optimistic people on their staff at all costs.
Here’s a pro tip we’ve seen CEOs employ: if there’s an aspect of your daily task list that you dislike, knock it out first thing in the morning. That way, it’s not looming all day and it’s not being reflected in your attitude. Make whatever adjustments you can in order to help set yourself up for a positive attitude.
Be a self-starter.
Good managers like to see their staff managing themselves and being self-starters. What makes managers’ jobs easier is when they can spend more time managing projects and less time managing people. If you require micromanagement because you don’t get your work done on time, you’re disorganized, and you don’t know what’s on your plate, you are a burden on your managers and, therefore, you’re less valuable (read: no raise for you!). Take an honest look in the proverbial mirror and try to assess yourself. Make sure your managers don’t have to interact with you if they don’t need to. Sure, managers have to meet with staff to assign and discuss projects, answer questions, and so forth. That’s project management. What you want to avoid is a manager having to seek you out to pull completed projects out of you or to follow up and make sure you know what you have to do. That’s people management… and it’s expensive.
Volunteer to take on new responsibilities.
You know what makes a manager love their staff? When their staff voluntarily wants to do more. Reach out to your managers and ask them what additional tasks you can perform to make their lives easier. Two things happen when you do this. First, you’re taking on more work, which means you’re more valuable right off the bat. Second, by putting yourself out there to do more work, you’re setting yourself up to receive additional training on tasks or functions that you otherwise might not have received. And what does that make you? You guessed it… more valuable!
Do you want a raise? It’s simple: demonstrate that you’re worth the raise! By setting yourself apart by being motivated and positive, taking on additional work, and being easy to manage and work with, you’ll do just that. It’s not always easy and it can often take time, but your hard work and great attitude will be noticed… and will pay off!