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Having the pay rise conversation

4 minute read – NDIS carers series – Pay Rise

Getting up and going to work every day is always easier when we can look forward to what we do.

Working in the NDIS, you know, even if you have a tough day, what you are doing will help improve and enhance the lives of others.

But knowing you have purpose and you are doing something that makes the world better, unfortunately does not mean you have nothing else on your mind.

In 2020, a UNSW survey of more than 2,000 frontline NDIS workers told us that in fact, your mind is busy worrying about job security, intensification of your work, uncertainty around shifts and importantly, about your pay.

In fact, ‘lack of pay’ was one of your top concerns.

If you’ve worked in care for a while, or you’ve done your research, you know that often, care workers are paid below the Australian average income. And while this might not change any time, your personal conditions can!

We spoke to an industry expert and asked her advice on how you can approach those tricky pay rise conversations confidently and successfully.

  1. Start by doing your research

Our expert told us one of the worst things you can do is start these very important conversations without having done your research. Arming yourself with knowledge is a must!

Use resources like Seek, Glassdoor and other HR and job board platforms to better understand the average, top and bottom pay brackets for your industry and your job. Talk to people you know who work in other organisations. Look at job ads and check for the promoted salary. Find out if there are any organisations paying above Award.

You’ll also want to take a look at the job market in your industry. Are there plenty of good people around who can do what you do? Or is replacing you a lot harder? Is the market candidate or skills short?

Only go into a conversation like this one, if you have realistic expectations, and those expectations come from thorough research.

  1. Show how you add value

Asking for a pay rise just because you need one – though sometimes emotive – is not usually effective.

Asking for a pay rise and showing why you deserve one, will much more likely lead to success.

While many of us work for very caring organisations, we enjoy a great culture and understanding managers, at the end of the day, it doesn’t affect them if you can’t pay your bills or buy the house upgrade you want.

What does affect them is what you do on the job and how that improves your participants’ experience, and closer to home, how it affects your manager’s experience and the outcomes for the business.

Be ready to come to the table with examples of the work you have done, or do regularly, that helps the organisation run smoother, decrease costs or improve revenue, or boosts productivity.

These can’t be examples of the work you should be doing, as listed in your job description. Those examples simply prove you are worth what you agreed, when you agreed to that job description.

These are examples of going above and beyond. You have stepped up into an interim team manager role, you have introduced a new process that costs much less than the old one, you helped retain several participants who were going leave and seek out one of your competitors.

Don’t just ask for or expect a pay rise, show why you deserve one.

  1. Be prepared for questions

When we have these challenging conversations, it is very rare your manager will simply hear you out – listen to all your wins – and immediately agree to give you a pay rise.

Like any reasonable person, they will have questions.

Just as a CEO or a celebrity does before heading into an interview, anticipate the questions you may receive, and practice the answers in advance.

Be ready to spring into a strong and clear response, no matter what is asked, so you can not only minimise any concerns or objections, but you can also exemplify you are both an asset and you are 100% confident in how much you deserve this raise.

  1. Really consider compromises

While many in the NDIS and other care roles would love a pay rise, the fact of the matter is that most of the time, there just isn’t the money to facilitate it. The Scheme, by its nature, places constraints on the finances of many organisations, and even a few dollars an hour can be out of reach.

So what else would make life easier for you?

How about salary sacrificing for a new car? Or sponsorship of some study or perhaps allocation of an internal mentor who is in the position you aim for? Maybe it’s as simple as being allowed to finish half an hour early, without less pay, so you can have some dinner before you get to your next job.

Having the pay rise conversation can actually be a great way to drive conversation about your conditions and how little improvements may make a world of difference for you.

These conversations don’t always have to end with extra dollars — and often won’t in the NDIS — but can still be very satisfactory.

  1. Be ready to hear ‘no’

While, if you present a strong case, there is every chance you will come out on top with a little extra to spend, unfortunately that’s not always the outcome.

Before going into these conversations, prepare yourself to respond professionally and gracefully to ‘no’ and know what you will say to keep the conversation on the table, to be picked up again at a later date.

It doesn’t really matter what industry you work for, asking for more money or better conditions can often feel awkward and uncomfortable – but overcoming those challenges can really be worth it!

VisiCase provides an NDIS-ready business automation platform, built on powerful workflows. It helps you manage, streamline and optimise every component of your business, and its modules empower a positive employee and client experience.

Image by Christina Wocintechchat

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