How to boost your salary

Scott
Beagrie outlines the Seven Essential Habits you need to adopt to persuade those
holding the purse strings to pay you more

There’s
no shortage of self-help books promising sure-fire ways of securing a pay rise.
Intended for the widest possible market, most take a rather glib approach to
the subject – ‘find a good argument’, ‘identify key influencers’, ‘be
confident’, ‘manage your boss’, ‘choose your moment to strike’ and so they go
on.

For
the seasoned HR professional, who has been around the appraisal and pay
negotiation block several times already, they can only prove a bland and
somewhat insubstantial experience.

So
in the true spirit of one of the biggest selling self-help books ever,
Personnel Today offers Seven Essential
Habits
for raising your visibility, winning friends on the line and
influencing the board — all with a view to improving the bottom line of your
salary cheque.

1.Get
a serious business qualification

A regular
HR qualification may prove insufficient to open the right doors. Obtain an MBA
as it will equip you with the strategic know-how to operate at board level.
There is no statistical evidence to show its impact on pay, but, anecdotally,
its potential to add to your salary is widely recognised. “If more HR directors
pursued MBAs or Masters degrees to show they have a grasp of the strategic
aspects of the business, they would undoubtedly improve their [financial]
position,” says Mark Lamptey, a partner in the executive compensation division
of Mercer Human Resource Consulting.

2.
Reinvent yourself

Many
businesses are going through periods of seismic change and there’s no better
time for HR to hitch a metaphorical ride on its coat-tails and transform itself
into strategic business partners/agents of change. If you want a working model of
how this can be achieved, consider your colleagues in finance, where senior
department heads have turned themselves from the chief bean counters of only a
few years ago, into financial directors or chief financial officers involved in
strategic planning. For extra effect, acquire a funkier job title such as
people director to further stress the shift away from traditional process-led
HR.

3
Be credible with line managers

HR
shouldn’t just be seen as a facilitator for the line, so make sure you carry
out assignments in other departments to improve your commercial understanding
of the business. If you augment your ability to talk a good business story with
a convincing job, you’ll earn plaudits from the line managers who will then
tell everyone how effective you are. It will also provide a good learning
experience and a sound operational base from which to speak at board meetings
and convince the CEO that you are worth more.

4.
Measure everything

Unlike
sales or other divisions where it’s easy to measure productivity, HR has always
struggled to demonstrate its worth. Recent years has seen the rise of
benchmarking and other metrics that allows HR to measure the effectiveness of
its practices and contribution to the success of the business. “Once they start
using HR metrics to do that, HR will win the argument [for increased
remuneration] as it will be able to show it can make a significant
contribution,” says Mark Lamptey.

5.
Take calculated risks

Historically,
HR is associated with being a risk-free profession but to be able to sit at the
same table as finance, operations or marketing, you should occasionally go out
on a limb. As Ralph Tribe, vice-president of HR at Getty Images, points out:
“You can do a lot of very interesting and high-return activities in HR, but
they are typically more risky. The concept of risk is fundamental to how much
you get paid.”

6.
Move on regularly

If your CEO
or divisional director suspects you won’t leave then he or she has no incentive
to pay you more – moving on every three years or so can not only broaden your
experience but research shows it also enhances your pay prospects. The Personnel Rewards 2003 study, carried
out by Croner Reward in conjunction with the CIPD, found that HR directors who
have changed jobs in the last 12 months can boost their earnings by 7 per cent
above the average (£61,500 compared with £5,7449). If you wish to specifically
target sectors to move into, recruitment consultancy and communications are the
highest paid.

7.
If all else fails become a specialist

It’s not
everyone’s ambition to want to reach the top of the function, so a sideways
shift into an HR specialism is an alternative method of increasing
remuneration. Compensation and benefits is traditionally the highest-paid
specialism and the Personnel Rewards 2003
study shows the pay specialists have a 20 per cent premium on the average pay
for personnel managers (£34,000 compared to £28,243).

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