New Year, New Salary? How to Take Advantage of the New Year to Ask for a Raise
Employees in hospitality positions don’t often receive additional pay for working on the holidays or weekends, since those shifts are part of normal business hours. And… there are no state or federal laws that require your company to pay you extra (over your normal hourly rate) for working on a holiday.
However, the holidays are often a special time for guests to celebrate and you can make a real difference in the bottom line by ensuring you’re providing over-the-top service so customers have a truly special experience at your hotel or restaurant. In addition to your contributions to the bottom line, you might also consider the tight labor market in the hospitality industry right now. Many companies are staffing up for the holiday season and having a pretty hard time finding experienced, qualified workers. They will need to pay more and offer some perks to attract/retain the best talent.
Timing is important. If you’re performing at your best and are a valued employee, you may want to consider asking for a raise in the New Year. Great timing is asking for that raise after your company has had a big financial boost from the holiday rush.
Hopefully you’ve kept track of the projects, special events and other contributions you’ve made and are in a position to ask for more money for your increased workload and/or superior performance. If you have agreed to take on additional responsibilities in the New Year, now’s the time to ask, before you begin the work. Once your boss has become accustomed to your new role, you may lose some leverage.
When you do approach your boss, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Check similar positions online in your geographic area to see what others are paying. A good resource for finding the compensation figures you need is PayScale.com as well the Deptartment of Labor. This will give you a ballpark idea of what’s realistic for your unique skills and experience.
- Present solid evidence that what you do is contributing to the company’s revenue and share your notes of what projects you’ve run, classes or certifications you’ve taken and any other new tasks you’ve taken on.
- Never mention your personal financial troubles, if any. Whether your rent has gone up, your partner has been laid off or you’ve had an unexpected large expense, it’s not going to help your cause.
- Don’t lead with how long it’s been since your last raise. That implies that you feel you deserve one simply because you’ve stayed on the job. Don’t make this request all about you.
- It doesn’t help your cause to bring up what your co-workers are making. Even though it’s not unheard of that you and your team share that information, you don’t win any points by whining about any inequities. You likely don’t know all the details about their education, experience, certifications, etc.
- Don’t make threats… if you deliver an ultimatum about getting a raise “or else,” you need to be prepared to back that up. Unless you have another job offer in hand, this is pretty risky. Your boss may not have room in the budget right now or may need to consult with others before he can offer you a raise. No one likes to be backed into a corner.
If the answer is “no,” and there simply isn’t room in the budget for an increase right now, you might start paving the way for the next appropriate time by asking:
- What additional responsibilities can I take on to continue to grow and advance my career?
- What certifications or education would help me get ahead in the coming year?
- I have continued to go above and beyond my regular duties to help out the team and gain additional and varied experience. How can I leverage that this year?
- Are there any other opportunities or positions that will allow me move into another role?
- What other perks are available if the budget is fixed and there’s no room for a raise? Can I negotiate for more flexibility in scheduling?... a coveted assignment?...a bonus?
Whatever you do, focus on your accomplishments and overall value to the company. Make sure you can quantify those and be sure to keep track throughout the year. You don’t want to forget specific achievements when the time comes to ask for a raise. That’s when you’ll be able to demonstrate how you impacted the company’s success.