Secret Sauce to Salary Hike

Recently during a new hire orientation session, I was asked this question – How to increase our salary in coming years? A straight forward, innocent question from someone who just started his career.

I decided not to confuse the group of new graduates with performance appraisal system, bell curve, salary policies and other external factors which influence salaries.

This is what I shared:

Ten years from now each one of you will be receiving different salaries, whether you stay here or in any other organization. It is not just the company or your manager who decides your salary, you play an equally important role.

Let us discuss what is that in your hand which determines your salary hike:

There are 4Cs which you have to pay attention during your career to increase your salary.

Here you go… 

Compensation =Competence+Contribution+Commitment+Communication


Who is paid more - a CEO or a carpenter? Bus driver or Pilot ? Brain Surgeon or Chef?

The answer is obvious.

The question is ‘Why? Why are they paid more? Is it skill? carpenters, drivers and chefs are skilled, but they not paid as high as others I have mentioned.

It’s not just skill, but specialized skill, knowledge and experience. When you have a competence which not many people have you will be paid more.

You all have passed out from the college at the same time but the learning experience will be different for each one of you once you hit the floor. What matters is the amount of time you are going to spend in gaining specialized skill, knowledge and experience. The more you learn the more you earn.


Why do we pay more money for a cup of coffee in a 5-star hotel or double the money to watch a movie in a multiplex?

I got different responses from the group. Let me sum it up - basically all those places add more value to you. Whenever a person or a place adds more value to you, then they become valuable.

Contribution is adding value to people and business. When the organization recognises you as a valuable contributor, they will pay your more salary.


In my 16 years of experience in corporate I have observed this unique attribute in all the people who grew faster, their commitment to work and complete ownership.

In my previous company there was one person who joined in a junior role and became the head of finance team in couple of years. During one forum, he was asked what is the secret of his career success?

His response:

"During my initial days I questioned on some discrepancy in some transactions and one of my colleagues asked me, "why should you bother?" "Is this your Baap ki company?" (Father’s company) and my answer was ‘Yes this is my company. I looked at all transactions and expenses with the thought - If it was my own company what will I do? and that helped me" he said.

Commitment is the feeling of responsibility that a person has towards the goals, mission, and vision of the organization he/she is associated with.


Why do companies spend a huge sum on advertisement? Because they know that however good their product is if it is not advertised well they will not be able to generate more revenue. They invest lot of money and effort in branding.

I come across lot of colleagues who are highly skilled, but they are stuck in one place. They hardly get promotions and good hikes and I believe the main reason is their poor communication skills and personal branding. They fail to package themselves well. You like it or not if you don’t sell yourselves well to others no one is going to buy you.

There is one more C-Change 

If you do all the above Cs and if you still don’t get what you are worth the last C is Change! Change your team, job and go to a place where they appreciate your worth.

Even there you must Communicate your Competence, Contribution and Commitment to the interview panel who will decide your salary.

So friends if you take care of these 4 Cs in your career I bet you will be earning more salaries 10 years from now than your classmates from the same college.

Just remember life always give you what you deserve and not what you desire!


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