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The annual review - top tips

Once a year, there comes a time that is crucial for any employee: the Annual Review. This is where everything that you have done for your company throughout the past 12 months is examined and discussed with you. It is also the perfect time to try and negotiate a raise, and improve your working conditions and prospects for the coming year. Below are some tips for keeping your cool and getting what you deserve at the Annual Review:

Maybe it's too early to ask

You almost definitely should be with a company for at least a year before broaching the subject of a raise. Wait until you've built up enough expertise, knowledge and customer relationships to be perceived as indispensable, then make your move.

Realise what's fair and reasonable

Before making your pitch, it's a good idea to do some research about the average pay levels in your field, both locally and nationally, so that you know what you're worth. It's also important to find out about your company's current situation. If the business is historically more cash rich at other times of the year, it might be wiser to consider asking then.

Know where to conduct your research

To gather information about your profession's salary range, check trade journals and salary-related websites with cost-of-living calculators. Also try contacting recruiters and local representatives of professional associations. To find out your company's financial performance, check out their annual report, or details on Companies House.

Preparation is everything

To help calm your nerves and make sure that you come across well, spend time rehearsing a brief presentation that stresses positive, measurable facts about your performance. It might be an idea to consider practising your presentation with someone you trust.

Think about your current status within the company

What is your overall position like with your employer at this exact moment in time? If you've just had a bad run in your performance, it's possibly not the best time to make the pitch for a raise. But if you're on a winning streak, or you've just been offered another job elsewhere, then the omens are good and your bid will be more seriously considered.

Make yourself more valuable

Within your day-to-day activities, try and take the initiative to learn new skills and assume added responsibilities without being asked. Your employers will make a mental note of your ambition and drive, and such steps could distinguish you amongst your colleagues and put you in line for higher pay.

Help out with your performance appraisal

There are very few employers out there who actively enjoy the interview process, so try and make it as easy as possible for them, especially if raises are only available during the annual review. A good way of doing this is to write an email outlining your key accomplishments over the past year. Make sure that you tailor what you write to fit the review process used by your company.

Have a specific goal in mind

After doing your research and assessing your situation, decide on a target raise percentage that seems reasonable. Sometimes it is a good idea to propose a higher figure and then settle for your original percentage. It may not guarantee that you'll get exactly what you want, but it could be a great source of clarity during your conversation with your boss.

Consider negotiating for benefits and perks

For whatever reason, perhaps a pay raise just isn't on the cards at the moment. But you can ask for other things, including an extra week of holiday, extra personal days, a future sabbatical period, training/education benefits or increased car or mobile phone allowances.

On the whole, working hard, doing a good job and getting results should translate into a good annual review and a decent salary increase. It is worth bearing in mind that employees who have stayed with one company and not sought out offers from other employers tend to earn less than their peers who have changed jobs at least once in their careers.

To discuss your future career moves, and to assess the opportunities for increased salary, benefits and personal fulfilment, get in touch with Regan & Dean.