Earlier this month, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that women should trust “karma” instead of asking for pay raises. Nadella suggested that the “system” would reward their work. In the apology, Nadella said he was “completely wrong.”
Well Nadella got one thing right. He was completely wrong.
Why? Because the “system” is flawed. Most reward systems are based on treating people equally. However, equal isn’t always fair. If I’m one of the top performing employees and I receive one percent more in merit pay than an average performer, is that fair? If the system forces managers to rate everyone according to a bell curve and I suffer because of this, is that fair?
I learned from an early age that if you want a raise, you have to ask for it. I was eighteen years old and working as a file clerk in a law firm and I went to my boss and asked him for a $20 per week pay raise. He said yes.
Every employee must learn how to advocate for him or herself. In my book Suddenly in Charge, I dedicated an entire chapter to the topic of How to Ask for a Raise and Actually Get It. I think I’ll send Nadella a copy so he can give it to his female employees, now that he’s apologized!
Encourage your employees to come to you if they think they deserve a raise. This option sure beats having your star performers go elsewhere for more money.
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