A verbal commitment of a salary increase

Q: When I was hired almost one year ago, my manager told me that they would “look at my salary” at the one-year mark. Nothing has been mentioned since then. I have been given positive feedback from him on a regular basis. But not a whisper about a salary increase. What do I do now?

A: Good for you for performing well! There are a few life lessons in the world of career management that I would like to share. If you have a few items on your “must have checklist” before you accept a new job, always to try negotiate them into the deal BEFORE you accept the offer. When possible, get these requests (like a commitment of a one-year salary review) in writing. It is almost always easier to get a commitment before you begin working, when you are still a candidate. Hindsight doesn’t help you now though. In the future, keep this is mind.

I think approaching your manager in a respectful and professional way is the best route. Ask to meet with him private and not “on the fly” when others can drop in. During this first meeting, prepare a few bullet points to keep in front of you so you cover the topics which you plan to discuss. Ask if the two of you can meet around your one-year anniversary date to discuss your performance over the past year and goals for the upcoming year. Draft goals in advance. This shows you are serious and eager to perform well again during the upcoming year. Remind your manager that you want to discuss your salary since you will be approaching your one-year anniversary. Prior to the second meeting, try to understand your company’s system for handling performance evaluations (if one even exists), salary increases, etc. Some employers have a prescribed and documented system for handling compensation, while some companies are very informal and operate very casually in this regard.

Finally, if your manager doesn’t provide a document that summarizes your performance, I suggest you summarize the meeting so that there is a record of the meeting and your performance in year one.

Pattie Hunt Sinacole is a human resources expert and works for First Beacon Group in Hopkinton, an HR consulting firm. She contributes weekly to Boston.com Jobs and the Boston Sunday Globe Money & Careers section.