What to Do When You Discover a Colleague Makes More Money
Nancy Ancowitz, a business communication coach and author of Self-Promotion for Introverts, lays out a seven-tip plan. Before you talk to the boss, listen to Nancy.Prepare Plan A and Plan B
"Gather your intel and determine your strategy for getting the increase you deserve," Ancowitz told WalletPop. "Get clear exactly what you want and plan a fact-based discussion with your boss. Meanwhile, circulate your résumé and prepare to jump ship (to a better one) in case things don't work out your way."
"Be succinct and make the conversation all about what's in it for your boss and the organization to adjust your pay -- rather than how you've been wronged and they owe you one," she said. "Don't expect them to feel your pain." It wouldn't hurt to have a few stats on what peers outside your company are making as well, she added.
Avoid mentioning the better-paid associate's name. It fosters a jealous vibe and you want your pitch "drama-free" while avoiding "an indictment of the employee with the bigger purse," Ancowitz explained. Do not reveal your sources either. You want the grapevine to continue working for you.
Ancowitz doesn't want you to recite poetry and cry. Just be aware that your boss probably has other salary disputes to deal with. Your complaint resulted from the kind of information leak that tends to get executives upset.
Redirect Your Strategy
For a different tact, instead of focusing on the money, focus on a promotion as you tout your assets to the company. The salary increase will naturally follow, Ancowitz said. Or, as part of an improved compensation package, negotiate other benefits. "These can include a better title, more time off, a more comfortable office space, professional development benefits, and flexibility to work from home," she said.
Get Other Offers
If you're so valuable, prove it. Few things drive a harder bargain than getting better offers from competitors. "If your organization values you, they'll make you a counter-offer to keep you around," she said.
There will be times where you don't have much leverage. But take heart. It's critical to your negotiating in the future. "Don't take your smaller paycheck personally," she urged. "Your better-paid colleague may have been hired during more prosperous times and she may be a better negotiator. She may also be a credit hog, or even the niece of the CEO. Whatever the reason, if you act resentful, you'll contribute to a negative work environment. Take the high road while you pave your path to a bigger paycheck."