How to Get Employer Promises in Writing

If your company is pushing off a raise until next year, make sure you get it in writing.

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Suzanne Lucas

I was given a long awaited promotion yesterday, but was advised that I would not be receiving a salary increase due to the economic climate. I am ok with this because no one who made more than $60k received an incremental increase, promotion or not. We were all happy that we even received bonuses.

I was however told that when the climate improved and it was salary increase time again (February), I would be recognized at that point. What is your advice on tracking that and making sure it happens. I fear that as the year goes by, it will be forgotten. Is it appropriate to request the promise in writing? I don't want to come across as ungrateful, but want what I deserve.

It is absolutely appropriate to request a promise like this in writing.  And you are wise to be concerned about this now.  However much we'd like to think others care about our salaries, they just don't.  I'm not saying that your boss is a bad person who is trying to cheat you out of a promotional increase.  I'm just saying that he's got other things on his plate.

If you arent comfortable asking directly for a written document detailing how your raise will be applied, you can take the easy way out and send an e-mail to your boss. Include the following pieces of information:

  • How excited you are about your new responsibilities
  • Mention your new title and the word promotion
  • Detail your understanding (when your increase will be applied and approximately how much it will be)
  • Ask for confirmation

Your boss will likely write back a quick response saying: "That's correct" or "It depends on how the business looks next year." If you get the latter response, ask directly what needs to happen to make this increase a reality.

Now, if it gets to be December and it looks like increases will happen in February, and your boss hasn't mentioned the promotional increase, it is okay to remind him.  Note that it is not okay to remind him every day for the entire year.  You should not use every conversation to pester: "I sure can't wait until I get that increase!"

If he responds that you will not receive a promotional increase, but a standard increase, forward the E-mail that you carefully saved.Chances are, none of this will be a problem. Wise companies want to keep their good employees happy, and if you were just promoted you are obviously on the good list. 

Congratulations on your promotion.   Work hard and look out for yourself. No one cares about your salary like you do.

Suzanne Lucas has nine years of h uman r esources experience, most of which has been in a Fortune 500-company setting. She holds a Professional in Human Resources Certificate from the Society for Human Resource Management. She blogs at Evil HR Lady .