I asked my boss for a modest raise and he offered me a managerial promotion with more tasks and responsibilities. I have no interest in being a manager. I would just like to be fairly compensated for the job I currently hold. What should I do?
The first answer
Lyse Cornelius-Biggs, Vice President of People, Properly, Toronto
First off, kudos to you for having a clear idea of what you do and don’t want in your career – this can be difficult for a lot of people.
Based on your boss’ response, it sounds like a clarifying conversation is needed to get on the same page about your career goals and the path you see yourself on. Some leaders assume that promotion to a higher position is the automatic goal for everyone, but it’s important to recognize that not all growth trajectories are created equal. For many people, growth can mean staying in the same position, but taking on new projects, working with new teams, or deepening their knowledge in a given field. Becoming a manager isn’t every employee’s end goal — and it shouldn’t be. Recognizing this diversity in career paths is an important skill for any leader, so take the opportunity to discuss your professional goals for growth and development with your boss.
In terms of compensation, these conversations can sometimes seem difficult – it’s great that you’ve been open and raised your concerns with your boss. Along with the clarification conversation about your career goals, you will have the opportunity to discuss your desire for recognition of the contributions you have made in your current role.
Your boss clearly sees you as a valuable member of the team. In your follow-up conversation, thank your boss for their recognition and clarify that taking on a leadership role is not your goal at this point. It is important to emphasize that your request for a salary increase is a desire for recognition of your contributions and your impact in your current role. Focus on the data and results you’ve generated that show the impact you’ve had on the organization. Is there income that you directly or indirectly affected? Have you noticeably increased efficiency? If there is another reason for your request, such as market fairness, it would be helpful to gather relevant industry data to support your point of view.
Ultimately, this is an opportunity to focus the conversation on what you want to accomplish in the business and how it would benefit you, your teams, and the organization as a whole.
The second answer
Bill Howat, President and Founder, Howatt HR Consulting, Ottawa
As you realize, you entered into a negotiation with your boss. Negotiation allows you to share your preferences and collaborate on differences. You have indicated what you want. Be open to the possibility that your boss likes you and tries to help you get more pay. What are the consequences for your employer if they pay you more? For example, this may include setting a new compensation amount for your level of employment. It may seem easy to think that employers can pay more if they want. However, this may not be the case in the current economic climate due to volatility in input costs and economic uncertainty. Negotiation requires being open to the other party’s challenges, not just your desires.
A logical step is to understand your boss’s flexibility to increase your compensation without taking on a new role. If they don’t have such flexibility, then you have three options. Consider taking on the role of manager and how it could help your compensation and career path; continue to do a good job and hope that the compensation model will change soon; or look for other job options with better pay. Being paid fairly is important to feeling valued. However, the same goes for working in a psychologically safe culture, doing work that provides purpose and a sense that the work you do matters. Be aware that over the next few months, many employers will be faced with inflation and navigating the changing economic landscape. In times of uncertainty, job security with stable employers is worth considering in any decision-making process.
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