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Get a Raise: The Anatomy of Your Quarterly Review (with Your Boss!)

Get a Raise - The Anatomy of Your Quarterly Review (with Your Boss!)


One of my favorite things you can do that, in my opinion, can help you move leaps and bounds closer to a lower-stress life with more freedom is to get consistent pay increases… and invest all of them.


There is nothing that makes me happier! Okay, okay… maybe a dog (or three), but, seriously, if you’re already living comfortably, and if you can work on getting consistent pay increases and investing all of them, you’ll be amazed at what becomes possible and the doors that open up for you financially.


But first, there’s the matter of securing the raise itself, in a way that’s sustainable and consistent. And one of the most effective ways to do that is through regular quarterly reviews.


So, today, we’re going to talk about just that – The Anatomy of Your Quarterly Review with Your Boss. We’ll cover when to schedule, how to prepare, and what to cover in the meeting.


HOW QUARTERLY REVIEWS HELP YOU GET A RAISE


First, let’s talk about why quarterly reviews matter in the context of consistent pay increases. In my opinion, it’s two-fold:


  1. Although your manager may notice day-to-day that you’re doing good work, having a specific, dedicated time where the primary focus is simply on just how good of a job you’re actually doing is helpful; bosses are busy and, although they probably know in a general sense that you’re doing what they ask, hitting deadlines, and taking initiative, it’s good to discuss, in no unclear terms, exactly what it is you’ve been working on - and, more importantly, how it relates to your boss’s goals, and your company’s goals. This will help raise your good performance to the top of their mind for the duration of the performance review meeting – and hopefully afterward – especially if you approach it in a way that aligns back to what matters to your boss (which is their own goals that they’ll be reporting on to THEIR boss).

  2. Having regular reviews over time slowly positions you in your manager’s subconscious for a raise and, when the time comes, makes the conversation much less jarring, and more likely to end up with a successful outcome. Think about it: do you think you’re more likely to successfully land a raise if you quietly work all year, hope your boss notices, and then, out of the blue, ask for a pay increase? OR do you think you’d be more successful if you’re regularly checking in, showing your progress and proof you’re doing good work, and then eventually, after months of this behavior, ask for a raise? I’d say 9 out of 10 times the second option is the way to go.


So now that you understand why quarterly reviews matter in the context of consistent pay increases, let’s talk about when to schedule them, how to prepare, and what to cover during the meeting.


WHEN TO SCHEDULE YOUR QUARTERLY REVIEWS


The first thing you need to know is when the fiscal year is for your company. Does it run on a normal calendar year from January to December, or some other schedule? It’s not uncommon for companies to run on irregular cycles, so be sure you know the answer to this and, if you don’t, ask your manager or your HR representative.


Once you know the dates of your fiscal year, I suggest setting a reminder for the last day of each quarter and getting your review scheduled with your boss within 2 weeks of quarter-close.


Again, do not rely on your manager to schedule your review; they’re busy, they’re human, they may forget. And, ultimately, it’s up to you to look out for yourself, your career development, and your financial journey. Be proactive about this, especially if your company does not have a formal review process, which many don’t.


Simply put 30 minutes on your boss’s calendar within 2 weeks of quarter close and title it ‘Quarterly Review’ or something simple. If it’s your first time doing it, you can add a little context in the invite like, “Hey Mary, I’d like to get into the cadence of scheduling regular performance reviews to ensure alignment on goals and progress.” 


HOW TO PREPARE FOR YOUR QUARTERLY REVIEW


To prepare for your quarterly review, you need to know what your goals are, and, to know what your goals are, you need to know what your boss’s goals are for your team.


I was in corporate for enough time to know that this isn’t always very clear-cut so if you find yourself thinking: I’m not sure what my goals are, then you’ve got to ask.


Again, if that’s you, then I suggest setting up a time with your boss ASAP to have this conversation. Frame it accordingly - for example, if you schedule this conversation at the beginning or the end of the calendar year and/or your fiscal year, you can say, “I want to ensure we are on the same page about my goals as we head into the new year.” 


Or if you’re asking at a more random time, maybe mid-year you can just say, “Hey Mary, I was hoping we could meet to discuss my goals for the coming months. I think aligning and getting very specific on the goals I should be working to hit, and adding numbers where possible, will help me be even more effective in meeting the team’s objectives, and the company’s.” Something like that. Always tie it back to how you want to ensure the team is doing well as it aligns back to the company’s goals because your boss cares about his or her team’s performance.


And, ideally, show up to that conversation with some drafted goals. The less work on your boss’s end, the better. But leave that meeting in alignment with your manager on what you should be working toward.


One last note on this part - avoid vague goals like “increase social media presence.” Get specific. Try for something like “increase leads generated from social media by 10% by end-of-quarter.” Include a specific metric and a number. If you can look at historical data for your goal, great… look at what a typical increase is for a quarter and use that or add a percent or two. If you’re not sure or there’s no historical data to refer back to a 10% increase or improvement is typically safe. Just tell your boss, “I couldn’t find any benchmark data, so to start, I’m drawing a line in the sand at 10%, and then next quarter we can adjust as needed”.


Once you have clarity around your quarterly goals, THAT is what you’ll use to prepare for your quarterly review. Again, the more numbers you can include, the better because that makes it obvious if you’ve hit your goal.


So, all quarter long you should be focused and working on hitting those goals you and your boss agreed on. As soon as the quarter closes, your priority is to pull any data or metrics that can prove you hit your goals. That’s how you prepare for your quarterly review.


WHAT TO COVER IN YOUR QUARTERLY REVIEW


In your quarterly review, remind your boss of the goals the two of you agreed on, and show up with the information and proof you prepared that showed that you hit your goals - or didn’t!


Remember, if you missed your goal, that’s okay too! Own it, and show up to the meeting with data that shows the actions you took to hit that goal, WHY you think you missed the mark, and your exact plan on how to improve it this next quarter. 


Don’t forget, your boss is human, too. They’ve missed some goals in their life. What’s important here is that you own it and you’re proactive about showing what you did, why you think it didn’t work, and what you can do to improve.


Once you walk through the previous quarter’s goals, don’t forget to agree on the coming quarter’s goals with your boss before leaving the meeting.


Then the process begins again.


HOW THIS RESULTS IN A RAISE


You might be wondering how this all comes together and results in a pay increase, right? Let me explain.


Generally, I recommend asking for your pay raise in your Quarter 3 review - and only if you’ve had at least 2 previous quarterly reviews - and here’s why.


First, you need to have a few quarterly reviews under your belt to show that you’ve been adding value to your team, and your company for some time now… 6 months to a year.


And, second, I think asking for a raise in your Q3 review, just before the start of Q4, is strategic because many companies set their budget for the next year during Q4… so if you wait to ask for your raise until the end of Q4, you may have missed your opportunity since raises are things that need to be worked into the overall budget.


THE BIG PICTURE


You need to get into the habit of 1) ensuring you and your boss are aligned and very clear about the goals you should be working on, and 2) scheduling quarterly reviews to see what’s working and what’s not and to agree on goals for the next quarter.


Having these clear-cut expectations and regular touch bases makes it really obvious that you’re doing a 5-star job and helps position you in your boss’s subconscious as someone they can count on as a leader.


Additionally, these regular check-ins will make it less surprising, more reasonable, and more likely you’ll succeed when you ask for your raise, which I typically recommend doing in your Quarter 3 review, just before the start of Quarter 4.


NEXT STEPS


If you’re ready to position yourself to consistently get the biggest raises possible, then I’d love to share the exact process I used to secure the 2 biggest pay raises of my career, resulting in an overall increase of my salary by 86%! (If you want to see what that could do for your salary, take your pay and multiply it by 1.86!)


And I’ve documented the process inside my free guide, The Make More Money Starter Kit.


There's nothing quite like being paid what you deserve, and this guide will help convince even the most doubting of managers that you're worth it.


You’ll get 3 key decisions you need to make to land that pay raise and a specific plan to start making more money, proven tactics I used to land a $30K pay increase, detailed action steps on how to track your successes and use them to get a raise, and exact calculations for things you could be paid for like commute, 401(k) match, and more.


You’ll walk away with the data points you need to start making what you deserve and a plan on how to make it happen.


Check it out and prepare to be paid what you're worth.


As we close out, I hope you feel inspired to take action today by putting time on your manager’s calendar to align on goals or have your quarterly review. Keep advocating for yourself and remember your worth - you’re valuable and you should be paid accordingly!


 

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