I often talk about the things you can do in your job search to increase your earning power. But what about when you’re already on the job? What things can you do to successfully land a raise in your current position?
Some nannies think that just racking up years of experience is enough to get them a raise. That’s not how it works. You have to be deserving of a raise and then be able to effectively have the often nerve-wracking raise conversation.
Here are my top ten suggestions for rocking the “deserving” part. A later article will tackle the conversation part. Stay tuned.
1. Invest in in-depth professional development. Like other jobs, for most nanny employers there’s a direct correlation between what you earn and what you know. A family isn’t likely going to give you a raise simply because you took a course or attended a conference. But if you connect your new knowledge and skills to a tangible benefit for the family, your chances of landing that raise quickly go up.
2. Do an exceptional job. Remember when you first started your job and you gave 110% to everything you did? OK, it’s unrealistic to think you can maintain that honeymoon phase level of commitment over the long haul. However you should continue to do an amazing job day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year. Many nannies often get complacent over time and before you know it, they’re doing just what’s needed to get by. No, their employers don’t complain but they don’t rave either. Your goal is to be rave (and raise) worthy.
3. Be a problem solver. Let’s face it, your employers are faced with new problems, big and small, on a regular basis. Sam is having a hard time with transitions. Sarah is on a homework strike. The water heater is leaking. Always be on the lookout for challenges your employers are facing and work to help them find a solution.
4. Take on additional duties. As your charges get older and enter preschool or school, you’ll have extra kid free time. By taking on some additional tasks like grocery shopping, starting dinner, or organizing your employer’s closet, you’ll become more, not less, valuable to the family.
5. Maintain a positive attitude even when things get tough. Staying in the right mind space is essential to being successful and happy as a nanny. This doesn’t mean you have to paint on a fake smile and pretend everything is perfect when it’s not. It means that while you work through issues with your employers and tackle the challenges that come with being a nanny, you do it without blaming or complaining. A positive attitude is one of the top characteristics that parents value in their nanny. And one they remember when it comes time for a raise.
6. Learn how to effectively navigate a performance review. A detailed performance review lays the foundation for the raise conversation. It allows you to showcase all the amazing things you’ve accomplished throughout the year and to present your goals for the year to come. It’s the perfect way to say “This is why I deserve a raise!” without feeling like you’re saying “This is why I deserve a raise!”
7. Use regular check-ins to establish your value. It’s impossible to showcase all your greatness at the end of the year, even if you rock the performance review. So it’s important to use your daily or weekly check-ins to gently let your employers know how you’ve helped and supported them. This doesn’t mean reciting a list of all the things you’ve done for them. It does mean weaving the many benefits you provide into your regular communications so your employers are left with a “what would we do without her?” feeling.
8. Have a pitch in attitude. Yes, it’s important to have clear job responsibilities and to stick to them. However it’s also important to be flexible and pitch in when it’s really needed. This doesn’t mean you have to rake the lawn when the gardener doesn’t show up or regularly clean up a counter full of dishes on Monday morning. It does mean that when a sudden or unusual need arises, you do what you can to solve the problem and support your family. A nanny’s willingness to help out is often directly related to her employers’ willingness to pony up more money.
9. Value yourself. This is your hurdle to get over. One of the biggest blocks most nannies face in getting the raise they deserve is their own insecurity and feelings of unworthiness. It’s not an easy task, learning to value yourself. But it’s one of the greatest gifts you can give.
10. Ask! If you want a raise, then ask for it! Lots of nannies sit back and wait until their employers offer a raise (whenever that may be) and then feel stuck with whatever was presented. Be proactive, schedule a performance review, and come prepared for the raise conversation. Then ask!