To earn more in a job you need to do it well, you need to work hard, you need to be talented, you need to be able to show evidence, you need to strike at the right time and many more things. Yet there is one thing that people don’t mention and it is probably the greatest factor in getting a higher salary for a job; who you know. Success in the workplace is all about who you know and the relationships you have.
The expression “no man is an island” comes to mind here. If you go to work every day and do your job well but don’t interact with your peers or your boss, you are missing the point and a key opportunity. Success in the workplace is driven by who you know and what you know.
You need to have strong professional relationships with your peers in the office. If there is more than one person that shares the same title as you, they are both an ally and a competitor. When the next promotion comes up you may be competing with this person but you can both do better if you work together. Many people think that each job level earns a certain amount but the reality is that each job level earns a certain bracket. If you can reach the top of the bracket it may mean a 10% difference. As you get promotions throughout your career, starting 10% higher can end up making a huge difference.
You should foster a close professional friendship with your peers to eventually come to understand what they earn. In the workplace, I have been asked more than once what I earn. When I was asked by someone who I wasn’t close to I told them that it was unprofessional to ask that. However, when someone who was closer to me asked, I was happy to guide them. By knowing what other people are on it can inform you and how strong you need to be when you negotiate. If you are already earning the highest in your bracket, you shouldn’t come across too strong. If you learn you are at the low end, you need to ask for more firmly.
The same goes for people at your experience level in other jobs. How much your experience is valued in the market is a key determinant of your salary. If everyone in the market is earning more than you, you have every right to ask for a raise or start looking for a new job.
While both of these relationships matter, the most important relationship is with your boss. If your boss sees you as another cog in the wheel then you are replaceable. However, if you and your superior have a close professional relationship they are more likely to look out for you. If a promotion comes available they will think of you. If only a limited number of people can get a raise, your name will be top of their mind.
The best way to achieve this is to regularly schedule catch-ups with your boss. In the beginning, these meetings should focus on your professional development, which is important. However, they should also provide an opportunity for you to show your boss what you are working on and how you can help them. Try to understand what they are working on as well and find ways that you can make their job easier. While doing your job well is one key to success, making your boss’s job easier is even more important.
This all sounds straight forward and easy and it is, yet you would be surprised by how many people underestimate the importance of relationships in the workplace. They stand by the idea that hard work pays off and pay no attention to the workplace games that take place. These games matter, are easy to play, and winning comes with a great prize.