Seven secret tips that can help you get a raise

May 23, 2005
Are you paid what you are worth? Columnist Joel Leonard offers seven simple techniques that can boost your profile and the size of your paycheck.

The tips below might be considered common sense. Because so few in our profession employ these principles, one might think these are secrets. I hope you engage in these simple steps to further enrich your career.

Secret of the followership principle: Who do you ultimately report to? What metric is your superior held accountable to achieve to receive his pay increase? Do the research and focus your efforts on activities that advance achievement of that metric. We all need to align the majority of our efforts to propel our leaders forward, which also propels us, and we can maintain our integrity in the process.
Secret of the lollipop principle: Ever go into a candy store with a kid? With all of the thousands of options available, which kind of candy does he usually want? Yes, most want the same kind of lollipop that is in another kid’s mouth. What does this have to do with getting a raise? Lots! Companies often take for granted what they have unless others want it. That is why it is important to become a valued resource in the industry, not just your company.

How do you increase your market value? Get certified. I know several individuals who have taken their savings and invested their professional certification. Their investments paid off many times over. The Association for Facilities Engineering reports that members who earn certification make at least $5,000 more per year than noncredentialed professionals. 

Connect with associations
The Association for Facilities Engineering (AFE):
The Association of Energy Engineers (AEE):
Building Owners Management Association (BOMA):
International Facilities Management Association (IFMA):
Society for Maintenance Reliability Professionals (SMRP):

Pursue industry awards. You can use this as a torch to light the fires of change in your organization, and to gain credibility in the process. If you win, you can then position your company as one of excellence and continue to implement change. Here are some industry awards you can compete for: The North American Maintenance Excellence (NAME) Award. For more details check The Facilities Achievement and Management Excellence (FAME) Award. For more details check The MPACT Extreme Maintenance Makeover Award. For more details check
Secret of the connection principle: Ever feel like you are the only one in the world with your type of problems? The more people I meet in the facilities engineering field the more I realize that everyone experiences the same problems. That is great news: Meet others in the field and find out how they contend with their issues. They might give you insight into how to win budget battles, achieve goals and earn a raise.

Secret of the giving principle: If you want to create buzz in the market, give something away. Volunteer your time, expertise, energy and ideas to good causes. Religious leaders have taught this principle for thousands of years: The more you give the more you receive. Who is more qualified to contribute to Habitat for Humanity than MRO pros? By devoting a weekend a couple of times a year to a cause we can easily make a name for ourselves and earn charitable equity in the process.

Secret of the money talk: In today’s business climate, accountants rule. To thrive in this environment, we all need to communicate our contributions in financial terms backed with facts. Use this formula in future reports: Value= Benefits/Costs. Normally, companies look at a 5:1 ratio of benefits to costs. I encourage you to read the same magazines they read. Visit for starters.
Secret of the perception principle: What is your department’s perceived value? Is it viewed as a cost center or a profit contributor? How about becoming known as a cost-cutting crusader? A facility manager for a Fortune 500 company made it his goal to cut $500 million out of his company’s operating budget. He was given permission to spend $100 million to achieve this objective. The point is managers will release funds to your department if they are confident you are on their side and are not waging budget battles.
Secret of the necessity principle: Due to retirement of the baby boomer generation during the next 10 years, those who have proven skills will be in demand and will be able to garner significant negotiation leverage. Continue to build your skills, reference list and credentials in the market and you will prosper.
Bonus tips for those currently in the job market: Persistence pays! Marketing experts report that it takes as many as 19 interactions before a sale is made. The same applies to getting placed in a new career.

E-mail Joel Leonard at [email protected].