Multiple Raises a Year

time to meetWhat if instead of the possibility of getting a raise after an annual performance review, you got a multiple mini-raises throughout the year as a way for an employer to do regular check-ins on how you’re doing (i.e. instead of the possibility of getting a $10,000 raise at the end of the year you got $2,500 raises quarterly). The Wall Street Journal reports that this strategy is becoming increasingly more common at companies like tech firms, which want to retain talented employees and keep them motivated.

Shutterfly Inc. employees are eligible for bonuses four times a year, with biannual salary reviews. The check-ins allow managers at the online photo publishing service to address employees’ concerns, such as dissatisfaction with their pay, head-on.

“You can resolve problems early versus letting them fester,” CEO Jeffrey Housenbold said. “If you let them fester for a year, usually people just go and update their LinkedIn profile,” a signal that they may be courting other offers, he said.

Not too long ago, I was giving advice to a friend about how to ask for a raise, and after a little more than a year of advocating for herself, she got a 20 percent raise—less than what she expected given the new responsibilities she’s taken on. She’s recently updated her LinkedIn profile.

Photo: Jeffrey Zeldman


23 Comments / Post A Comment

PicNic (#3,760)

I would love to be eligible for more frequent raises/negotiations. I’ve been at my current job for almost a year and a half and it has changed drastically but my boss keeps rebuffing my requests to discuss a job evaluation to see if I should be paid differently. (note – it’s changed enough that she said they really should have written a new job description and had me officially re-apply) ugh. We do get union raises though once per year though, which are independent of any performance evaluation (we get no performance related raises). The current negotiated contract means in October I’ll get a raise of approximately $1,745, which comes out to 3.2%, a smidge higher than 2014’s 2.1% inflation rate.

How do other people negotiate raises when you’re part of a union? I’ve never been in a union before and while it’s nice to have the guaranteed increase, it’s discouraging that no matter how hard I work it’s never recognized financially (or even verbally – my boss isn’t big on praise). I know, as my aunt likes to tell me, “you’re lucky you even have a job in this economy!” but, ugh. the only way to get ahead is to quit and get a higher paying job.

crenb (#6,486)

@PicNic And because of “this economy” quitting to get another job can be risky and you might not be so lucky. I can only imagine that working without any recognition-financial or otherwise-is incredibly discouraging. I hope things work out for you and you get the raise it sounds like you deserve!

@PicNic I was just wondering the same thing! I also get union-related raises, but I THINK I am eligible for performance raises? I’m honestly not even sure. My other problem is, though, that any non-standard raise or promotion ultimately has to be approved by personnel – a department in a different building who has never met me, my boss, has no idea what I do, etc. It’s completely arbitrary and I know a couple people have gotten screwed by it, but it also works for some people. It’s also a time consuming process and in a small workgroup like I have, eventually everyone knows what you’re trying to do and what you’re asking for. I love my job and I love working for the government but ugh, this process is horrible.

crenb (#6,486)

My roommate used to work the reception desk at a chiropractic office and received quarterly performance reviews that, if turned out positively, ended in a raise. She talked about how it kept her motivated to do well because, for her, it prevented her from slacking off because she always had a review coming up and couldn’t develop the mindset of “well it’s only March so I can kind of slack off now since my boss likely won’t remember come the end of the year”.

you know MIKE this sounds like a GREAT IDEA

ThatJenn (#916)

I actually LOL’d at the idea of (a) ever getting a $2,500 raise and (b) having that be “small.”

There are many many benefits to working for the state and I love them, but yeah. (We have never had the ability to do merit raises since I started working here, though we do occasionally get cost of living adjustments – averaging out to about 1.5-2% per year since we don’t get them every year, so they don’t keep pace with cost of living but they are way better than nothing.)

Anyway, I like this idea if I mentally change it to, like, $500 twice a year, to bring it in line with what is typical here. Thinking back to when I worked somewhere where merit raises were a thing, yeah, it put way too much pressure on the month leading up to annual reviews.

LookUponMyWorks (#2,616)

@ThatJenn Seriously! A $2500 raise every quarter would be amazing. I got a 2.3% raise in the spring and that was considered good for my company.

@ThatJenn I get a raise on my anniversary, and then I get a raise, if it’s in the contract, at the start of the fiscal year. I do like spreading them out (it helps with my financial goals too, I can start contributing to something sooner, even if it’s not the full amount I want), but my anniversary and July are so close together it makes the rest of the year seem like a drought of no-raises!

hollanding (#6,076)

Over here in the nonprofit world, I’m just overjoyed that our pay freeze has finally ended. I plan to advocate for more than a COL equivalent raise at my 1-year review. Smaller quarterly raises (and reviews) sound pretty dreamy to me right now.

acid burn (#113)

@hollanding At my nonprofit job I quit a year ago(!), they gave us a 3% COL after THREE YEARS of nothing. Then they acted kind of snippy when we weren’t all jumping for joy. I don’t even know what I would (will?) do with myself somewhere where raises are an actual thing.

garli (#4,150)

God this is my life (last week)
Not too long ago, I was giving advice to a friend about how to ask for a raise, and after a little more than a year of advocating for herself, she got a 20 percent raise—less than what she expected given the new responsibilities she’s taken on. She’s recently updated her LinkedIn profile.

Except I got a 15% raise. In a year that the company announced that there would be raises for no one. I’m only staying to finish a certification that the company paid for and then they’re going to pay me more, or I’m off for greener pastures. If I can find them.

andnowlights (#2,902)

My organization isn’t giving out raises, but my boss apparently bugged enough people enough times to get me a 2% raise. This, after they cut out PTO by 7 days a year. Unsure what to do because we’ll probably only be here another year so it seems pointless to job search, but I’m really starting to resent the place that I work.

jr (#3,151)

Tech companies get a lot of heat for being out of touch and over paid or whatever but they take care of their employees a hell of a lot better than most.

NoName (#3,509)

@jr Until they go out of business, so six-on-one

seakelps (#5,146)

@jr some of their employees

jr (#3,151)

@NoName Well that’s part of the game. I have never worked for a company that wasn’t considered a tech “startup” (i hate the word. i hate all buzzwords) and I have never had a bad experience. It isn’t for everyone but you know the risks and the rewards when you take the job.

sony_b (#225)

@jr Not all of them. I work for a very big one and haven’t seen a raise in four years despite two major promotions (engineer with a graduate degree -> manager -> “Director” title). I was looking for something new a year ago when I was diagnosed with cancer and had to go out on long term disability for treatment. I go back to work on Monday, and I’ve been interviewing for the last two months while I’ve been recovering. The only way I’ll see a raise is if I show them a competitive offer from another company.

Why on earth would I stay? It’s good to be comfortable enough to wait for the right thing, but I am highly motivated to get out.

jr (#3,151)

@sony_b are there many options where you live?? If not consider relocating if you are a director at a big tech company you will have no problem getting a new job and them paying for relocation. I would never keep a job that long if no raise was given.

sony_b (#225)

@jr I am in Silicon Valley. I stayed the first year because I wanted the experience of the project I was running, and then I got sick. I’m picky about telecommuting, but I expect I will have a decent offer in 3-6 months.

seakelps (#5,146)

Of all the weird things tech companies have been doing, this one is now my favorite. It’s not like “unlimited PTO” which is actually just “we don’t want to have to pay you for unused vacation time if we get bought” – it can be beneficial to both the employees and the organization. Bonuses are more of a reward and better retention, and it prevents a single meeting determine your salary, which just does not match most jobs.

ragazza (#4,025)

This sounds like a good idea. I’m frustrated right now because I didn’t get a promotion that even my boss said I deserved (senior mgmt has to OK it) and after a fucking glowing performance review, and now maybe I’ll have to wait another year because the company “doesn’t like mid-year title changes.” How do they like losing good employees? Because I’m starting to look for another job.

aetataureate (#1,310)

You transposed it . . . It’s multiple years a raise.

booklungs (#6,505)

When I applied for the current, non-profit, job I have now, this scheme of merit based raises at multiple points was mentioned in the interview and one of the reasons I took the job. I got a title change and 2 dollar raise after three months and I am expected to have another review (and pay raise) in October.

While I got my expected 3 month evaluation (mandatory for all employees) because my supervisor loves me and is doing everything she can to ensure my success, a lot of my coworkers have NOT received this 3 month review/pay raise. Also my raise was a lot more money than the norm as well, considering a coworker who has worked there longer than me only got a $0.20 raise.

ANYWAYS! The thing is the october review is exciting to me because I feel like I am doing waaaay more work than I am being paid for (of course this is the nature of the nonprofit world)! Right now I am still being paid hourly so I dream of being paid salary but based on co-worker anecdotes it seems unlikely I will get this review and instead have to wait for my yearly.

ALSO! I just found out that it is super rare for anyone to make like a reasonable working wage at my job. Its a bit disheartening that a co-worker who heads a department and has been there for over two years wasn’t even making 30k a year. Oh well!

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