For many, it’s performance review season, which means—hopefully!—a raise is in store. But before you start dreaming about what you’re going to do with that extra cash, know that not everyone is in for a pay increase. In fact, even if you’re doing a good job, there are actions or decisions you may have overlooked that are preventing you from getting more responsibilities and a higher paycheck.
So before you go into that meeting, make sure you’re not making one of these 11 classic mistakes. Entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) explain the many reasons they’ve held back on a raise, from small mistakes to big career blunders.
1. You Put in the Time—But Not the Effort
While annual performance reviews are great, annual raises without consideration of improvement are not a good practice. The time it takes to improve your skills, add value, and meaningfully contribute to an organization varies by employee, and you never want to reward ‘putting in the time’ without also putting in effort.
2. You Have Poor Attendance
If employees can’t be dedicated enough to come to the job (pending the circumstance, of course), I cannot justify giving them a raise. I need to see that they are coming to work and performing their job to the best of their ability.
3. You Compare Yourself to Others
One thing that is surely subjective, and often makes me wonder about employees’ intentions, is when they try to leverage a colleague’s skill set. This is not something that should come up in conversations regarding a raise.
4. You Can’t Demonstrate Clear Signs of Growth
In order to be eligible for a raise, people have to show demonstrable increase in their skills, knowledge, and abilities. Without the dedication to improving their personal skill sets, they will quickly become stagnant and marginalized in a growing business. Growth in skills is required for growth in pay.
5. You Disrespect Your Colleagues (or Your Boss)
Being inconsiderate to colleagues and management is a surefire way to not be given a raise within a startup. Entrepreneurial environments are extremely sensitive, and one bad apple can indeed ruin the bunch in terms of morale and camaraderie. Rewarding toxic behavior, even if it does not affect management, will only lead to more dissonance among the team as a whole.
6. You’re Doing “Just Fine” at Work
Big raises are for big performance. Some folks seem to think that just showing up and doing an adequate job is grounds for a major salary increase—but it’s not. If you’re looking for a raise bigger than the annual cost of living of a couple percent, start working now to show that you’ve contributed more than the basics.
7. You’re Not Known as a Team Player
Some employees are really good at what they do, but they tend to work better alone than as part of a team. Although these employees are assets to the company because they’re good at their jobs, they can be a liability because they can’t cooperate.
8. You Rarely Educate Yourself on New Skills
I feel it’s important for employees to constantly stay educated so they can keep up with the needs of their industry. Employers don’t always have the time or resources to train people, so taking initiative is important. If employees aren’t making an effort to educate themselves, they’re not as good of an investment, so I wouldn’t be willing to offer a raise.
9. You Threaten to Leave
Raises should be given out based on performance, not because someone has done the same thing for 20 years—and definitely not because they threaten to leave. Everyone wants to get paid. If someone who is too concerned with money will probably jump ship when a better offer comes along, that’s not a good employee, and it’s certainly not a reason to give someone a raise.
10. You Don’t Deliver Your Best
If I have an employee who is holding back his or her best work from me, I won’t reward that with a raise. It’s harsh to say, but I want my employees to do the job they want to get paid for. If you want a manager’s salary, ask to take a more active role on a project, and be ready to take responsibility for the results.
11. You Don’t Adapt Well to the Culture
It may sound harsh, but I have never retained an employee who struggled to adopt our culture. Having employees who feel comfortable in their work environment is critical not only to your business, but also to people’s overall happiness. That being said, I would hold off on giving employees a raise until you can better sense their longevity and desire to adopt the culture of your company.
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