“Promised raise not given to me; what do I do?”

Question: Hi, Alan. I am working for a start-up company for the past six months. Around the time I started, I was promised I would get a hike in my salary after working six months.

Now that I have received the seventh month salary, I notice it is without any pay hike. And my manager refuses to give me the pay hike. What do I do?

Bangalore, Karnataka

Answer: Dear Ramya,

Your dilemma is a common one. Your question is quite welcome, because it gives me a good opportunity to explain a few things about an important subject that many people don’t understand.

1. First, determine whether a “written record” or “email trail” exists that you were promised a raise after six months. So often employees and employers have disputes about what was promised by the employer, or required of the employee, and the problem is made so much tougher because the promise or requirement was “spoken” not written. All of us, both employers and employees, sometimes honestly forget what was said. All of us, both employers and employees, sometimes don’t communicate clearly. And, sadly, both employers and employees can be dishonest. Resolving these problems is easier if there exists some “record” of what was promised or required, such as a written letter, a written agreement, or a written email.

2. If a written record does not exist, create one. If you don’t have a “written record” of what was promised to you, I suggest you send a respectful, non-confrontational email to your boss, reciting that you were promised a raise after six months, and that you would like to know when it will be provided to you. If his or her response does not deny the existence of the promise, that’s pretty good evidence that the promise was made.

You might want to obtain a Model Memo you can use to Request Monies Not Yet Paid by Your Present Employer.” To do so, simply [click here].

3. Consider what “non-monetary” items you might find just as valuable, if not more so, than the promised raise. These days, companies – and especially start-up companies – often don’t believe they have enough money for raises. In reality, there often is money in the bank, but the company believes it would be “better spent” on such items as advertising, marketing and revenue-producing items. You might give thought to asking for things that are valuable to you, but do not cost the employer money, such as time off, flexibility of schedule, or a more impressive-sounding title.

You might want to review an article I wrote entitled “Bonus or Raise Disappointing? Consider these Alternative Forms of Compensation.” To read it, just [click here.]

4. Also, consider the concept of “Triggers of Value” to get that raise. Our concept of “Triggers of Value” means “Is there anything I can do that, if I did it, would ‘trigger’ my getting that raise?” To read more about this powerful concept, I’ve written an article entitled: “For a Raise or Promotion, Use ‘Triggers of Value.'” To read it, just [click here].

5. Finally, consider whether this is the best place for you to work, and if you leave, consider filing a Claim with either a local Labor Department or Small Claims Court. Bear in mind that start-up companies often have difficulties fulfilling financial obligations. While they do offer such potential rewards as rapid advancement and chances of ownership, they also present risks from cash-flow shortages and other financial problems. You might consider whether this is something you’re comfortable with. If not, a larger employer is probably more suitable for you. If you do leave, and your raise has still not been paid to you, consider filing a complaint with your local Labor Department or Small Claims Court for what you did not receive.

Ramya, I hope this is helpful to you. Thanks for writing, and I hope you’ll tell others in Bangalore, India of what our blogsite has to offer.

Al Sklover

Not getting the compensation or advancement you want? If you are going to seek a new job, we offer many Model Letters for Seeking a New Job. To see the complete list, just [click here.] All of our Model Memos, Letters and Checklists are Delivered by Email – Instantly!

© 2011 Alan L. Sklover, All Rights Reserved.

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