Q: Although I was promoted more than a year ago, no one ever said anything about a raise. I don’t think I should have to go crawling to management for money, but I’m tired of doing more work for the same pay. Since this company doesn’t do performance reviews, the subject will never come up unless I say something.
Unfortunately, I am not confrontational by nature and I don’t like asking for things. I am also not sure who I should approach. My best friend’s father is one of the owners, so should I go to him?
A: Because salary discussions require an appropriately assertive attitude, you must first overcome your discomfort with “asking for things.” This reluctance may have already cost you, since you could have inquired about this raise 12 months ago. Employees who wait for management to correct inequities often experience a long delay, since their bosses may not even be thinking about the issue.
Also, describing yourself as non-confrontational seems to imply that you feel confrontation will be necessary to resolve this problem. However, approaching management in a resentful manner will not aid your cause and could easily backfire. So you should view this conversation as a request, not a demand.
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To increase your odds of success, you must present your case in a businesslike manner. Factors to consider include the level of your position, management’s view of your performance, your company’s financial situation and relevant salary comparisons.
For example: “Now that I’ve held a higher-level position for over a year, I wanted to talk with you about a promotional increase. Since you seem to be pleased with my work, I would like to see if we could agree on a salary that would match my current responsibilities. After researching comparable positions, I thought a 7 percent increase might be reasonable.”
Under most circumstances, your immediate manager would be the logical person to approach. Involving the owner could look like you’re trying to pull strings and bypass your boss. But if this business only has a few employees, then talking with your friend’s dad might be OK.
Q: Because I work at the reception desk, I am supposed to greet people and make them feel welcome. However, I’m also responsible for a lot of administrative tasks. Some of our visitors like to chat while they’re waiting and they often wait for quite a while. How can I shorten these conversations without seeming rude?
A: Escaping conversation is easier at work, because the need to get your job done trumps most other circumstances. Being the official greeter does require you to engage in a certain amount of small talk, but once you have been appropriately sociable, you may politely excuse yourself.
After exchanging a few pleasantries, simply smile and say something like “Well, I’ve enjoyed chatting, but my boss is expecting this report, so I’d better get back to it.” Most people will understand and end the conversation. But if some pathologically extroverted guests are too obtuse to take the hint, just remain in receptionist mode until someone comes to take them away.
Marie G. McIntyre is a workplace coach and the author of “Secrets to Winning at Office Politics.” Send in questions and get free coaching tips at http://www.yourofficecoach.com, or follow her on Twitter @officecoach.