Didn’t Get the Bonus You Were Expecting?


It's a new year; a time in which we feel refreshed and empowered to set new goals and resolutions. The possibility of new beginnings in a new calendar year inspires us to be more creative and driven at work and in our personal lives. But happens when last year's performance review catches up with us in the new year? What if you are not impressed with your bonus or didn't get the raise you were expecting? How should you approach this with your boss?

Having delicate conversations with your manager can be difficult, and approaching this in an emotionally intelligent way is key to get the results you are expecting. Sometimes our own perception of our work and efforts can differ from that of our peers and managers. Other times, the reason behind a less-than-expected raise or bonus is tied to factors beyond our performance and more associated with issues within the business. In either case, here are some tips on how to approach your manager and have a constructive conversation about it. 

6 Buena Gente tips on having a difficult (but positive) conversation with your manager about your compensation: 

1. Don't come in hot-headed. Wait until you have complete control over your emotions. Although this can be something that you are passionate to discuss, you do not want your emotions to get the best of you and say something you would regret.

2. Do not make it personal. Even if you have a great relationship with your manager or boss, this is not a personal situation. You might not know the reasoning behind or the factors that lead to his/her decision. It might not have even been their choice, but no matter what, you want to be objective and not emotional when you have this conversation. 

3. Approach it in a productive and non-confrontational manner. Do not start a fight or argument, you will probably not get the outcome you are looking for and could even generate unwanted tension with your boss. Go in with an inquisitive attitude and be prepared to get unsatisfactory answers. Remember you vibes attract your tribe. 

4. Ask constructive questions and know what you want to get out of this conversation. Think about what your options are at this moment. If you are looking to lay the ground for a future promotion or want to let your boss know that you are unsatisfied, come with a prepared set of facts that support your arguments and negotiate in a patient manner. However, do not list all the reasons why you deserve or need this raise. 

5. Know the value of your job, know your worth as an employee. If you feel that you are not being recognized appropriately for your efforts, this is a good moment to voice the work you have put into that project or the skills and added value you bring to the team. However, you do not want overtly flaunt and you should avoid coming across as self-centered or too egotistical. You should try to be affirmative while also remaining humble. Consider doing a short list of your accomplishments and the positive things about you that your boss highlighted in the end of the year review. This could be part of your opening line: "since I worked on project A and accomplished B and C last year, I was under the impression that my compensation would reflect that in a more direct way, which is why I would like to have a conversation about what I can do to make progress and be compensated accordingly..."

6. Consider your manager's personality and pick the right moment. If your team or your boss is having a difficult day, it might not be the right moment to bring this up. Think about his or her style of approaching difficult situations and accommodate accordingly.  A good moment to have this conversation is when you have successfully accomplished a difficult task or found a solution to a problem your team was facing. You want to kick off this conversation on a positive note and, as you know, timing is everything. 

We all have crossroads in our careers and personal lives that better prepare us to face the future, this is an opportunity to grow in a personal and professional sense. Do not shy away from it, but also, be prepared to not get the outcome you are expecting right away. The important thing here is to stand up for what you have worked for and be transparent in your aspirations and goals. Let's start the new year being more emotionally intelligent and over all #BuenaGente.