#47: Maximize Your Annual Review Potential
How to negotiate creative compensation your manager can't decline
Do you have a clearly defined ask for your next performance review?
And I don’t mean a request for feedback.
Performance reviews can often feel like a one-way street — your manager discusses your strengths and weaknesses, reads a few friendly quotes from coworkers, and then informs you of the company’s standard 3% to 4% raise (for “increased cost of living” but also “good work”).
It’s easy to leave a performance review feeling dejected, even if it was positive. You worked hard all year for what — a pat on the shoulder and a small bump in pay?
But, just because a large promotion isn’t on the horizon doesn’t mean you can’t ask for a value exchange.
In fact, you should enter into every performance review with a very clear and persuasive request for your manager. With annual review season on the horizon, the conversation is more timely than ever.
In today’s edition, we’re going to cover how to ask for increased compensation and performance bonuses in creative ways (that go beyond a raise in salary).
Let’s refine those negotiating skills!
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5 Unique Compensation Bonuses
Compensation is not black and white. And it shouldn’t always be connected to your salary.
When I speak to PMMs, so many get discouraged when they ask for a raise and get a negative response. But, the reality is that sometimes even if a manager wants to give their employee a raise, they’re not able to (ie. maybe there’s a salary freeze).
But, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be rewarded for your work and impact. Sometimes, you just need to work within their constraints to give them something they can say yes to.
That’s where creative compensation rewards come in. These are categories of rewards that you can position differently: they’re investments in you and your growth so that you can continue to drive value for the business. They’re not just an exchange of money.
The best part is that this type of compensation often lives within a completely different budget category - a category that many times goes unspent.
Here are five out-of-the-box compensation rewards to consider:
Sessions with a Coach
A coach can help you refine your goals, sharpen the skills in your toolkit, and expand your impact. Let your manager know you’re committed to continuous improvement and have a desire to work on a longer term growth plan. Explain how mentorship or coaching from an industry expert would provide you with insights, strategies, and guidance that will help you excel in your role (and give you fresh outside perspective). Bonus points if you come to the conversation with a recommended coach you want to work with.
Membership to a Community
Consider requesting a membership to a relevant professional community that will provide access to resources, events and new connections. Emphasize how being an active member will not only benefit your career goals but also bring new insights and connections to the broader team as well.
Ticket to a Conference
Conferences provide opportunities for learning, networking, and staying up-to-date with the latest industry trends. Consider presenting a case for how attending a specific conference will benefit both you and the company. There’s often a separate travel budget your manager can tap into to cover your flight and hotel too, so don’t limit yourself to pitching only local conferences.
Access to a Course
If your manager has identified an area of growth for you during your performance review, try requesting budget for a course to help you directly improve that skill. This is usually an easy sell since the manager is already bought in to you improving in this area. The more you can connect the value of the course to the impact you can have on future projects and initiatives, the better.
Healthy Living Purchase
Request additional health and wellness benefits, such as gym memberships, mental health resources, or home office equipment to support your overall well-being. These purchases ensure you’re able to show up to work as your best self, and can often be written off by the business. I’ve had past employers pay for a meditation app subscription, workout clothes and a virtual gym class membership.
Defining what you want is the first step in getting it. Asking for it is the second.
And remember, preparation is key. Come prepared to the meeting with all of the details of your request:
The investment (ie. pay for 3 months with a coach)
The cost of the investment (ie. it will cost $XX per month)
How the investment will support your goals (ie. this will support the development of Y skill)
The expected benefit to the business (ie. improving Y skill will help the company hit Z OKR)
Happy negotiating - you’ve got this!
📚 Reading List: Strengthen your negotiation skills with Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss
☕️ Snacks: Yes I am the type of person that turns Christmas music on the day after Halloween. Yes I have already had my first two Gingerbread lattes from Starbucks. Yes they will be fuelling me for the rest of the year 🎄