When do you ask for a raise, making remote teams work and valuing creative talent

This episode answers listener questions about how can creatives can pick the right time to ask for a raise or promotion, what’s the best way to negotiate your raise, how you can get remote teams to work together more seamlessly, and a discussion of how companies should be valuing and hiring creative talent. If you have questions you want answered you can ask them by ‘liking’ The Crazy One podcast on Facebook, finding me on Twitter @sdgates or on LinkedIn and I will answer them on an upcoming show.

Listen now:

Show Notes:

I do this show to try and help the creative community and every week I ask you to give the Facebook page a like or reach over social media. I don’t just do that for marketing or my ego. I do it so I can engage with you, make this show a living thing, share more, answer more questions. So this week I want to answer 3 more questions that came in from listeners.


The first question comes from the hosts of the High Resolution podcast Bobby Ghoshal and Jared Erondu. They asked “How can designers time ‘asking for a raise’ properly and what’s the best way to negotiate?”.

– I think that asking for a raise, and all of your career management, has to be strategic but thats isn’t the case for too many people
– Here is how not to do it. The worst thing you can do is pick an arbitrary time and decide now is when I am going to make stand and ask for more money. Or think that raises are based on how long you have worked there – that logic only works in prison.
– Know when to work with the system and when to fight against it
– I do it by setting clear goals and expectations with my boss
– Too many people don’t do this or they are afraid of it. I constantly want it.
– I do it because I want a way to be able to measure my success that we both agree on. That way whenever I’ve achieved the goals that we agreed would trigger a raise or promotion then I know I have a solid foundation to ask for it or demand it.
– I came to that technique because I’ve had to take too many promotions and raise by force over the course of my career
– And if you boss refuses then it is a very clear sign that you are going to have a really hard time advancing in that team or company.
– I want a boss who has expectations, is willing to fight for me, has enough of a vision for the group to be able to set goals.
– You need to understand where you salary sits in your market but you also need to understand where it sits in the salary band of your current or future position.
– I do all of this because negotiating is business – not emotion.
– Make sure you don’t take an extreme position. Don’t make things black and white – you have to leave room for grey and for people to be able to negotiate.
– It is also important that you don’t bluff. Don’t say something you aren’t prepared to do.


The second question is from Ayumi Kamata Anderson who wrote in on LinkedIn. She asked “Our company designers are all spread out. If you have any success stories of collaborative effort from remote locations that you can share, I would be very interested!”

– There are some fundamental things that will help make this happen. It’s the big three things you should focus on in any group – process, culture and tools.


– No matter how good the team is, is first collaborating with people who aren’t in the same location doesn’t come naturally
– So let your process help with that by building in stages and gates that require them to talk with each other
– But these should just be training wheels to build the muscle memory
– Because you want it to become part of the culture of your team to be able to work with remote people


– So make this a part of your culture
– Set it as a norm people need to follow so it is expected of the team and isn’t out of the ordinary


– But you also have to give them the tools which could be Slack, Google Hangout, Apple FaceTime, Hip Chat or a ton of other ones.
– I think InVision is probably the best suite of tools out there right now for collaboration, prototyping, presenting etc and it works really well for remote teams


The next question is from Matt Brown who wrote in on Facebook. He asked “Stephen, as a hiring manager, why is it that the brands we work on (big or small) define us as a designer/director, versus the work itself? More specifically, why are those with less exposure to huge corporate structure are considered less qualified? While it is always not the case, if you get someone in HR doing the initial screening, you will always have a pool of candidates for bigger brand work than the smaller ones. While you have had much success with big brands in your career, I am curious how you see other designers/directors with less “big brand” experience. Take out the corporate structure factor and solely focus on the talent.”

– The simple answer is the I have always felt that people who are truly creative can be successful in companies of any size.
– I think you should value how people think, how they work with the team and contribute to our culture but I know that I’m in the minority of people who feel that way.
– Even I’ve always been pigeon holed as a agency guy, then a hotel guy and now a bank guy. Like somehow that is all I can do.
– I think the way most creative team hire people is fundamentally broken.

Mentioned in this episode

Everyone is a designer. Get over it.

Recently, Jared Spool caught my attention with an article about how Netflix’s performance engineers are actually designers. It’s a provocative idea, but it makes sense. His argument is that everyone in your organization (including performance engineers) designs the product, not just the people with “design” in their job titles. From some of the reactions, you might think Jared had kidnapped someone’s baby for ritual sacrifice. What exactly did Jared write?


Subscribe now

You can listen and subscribe now on Apple iTunes, Google Play Music, iHeartRadioPocket CastsStickerTuneIn and all other major podcast platforms.

Join the community

Ask questions, suggest topics for future shows and connect with other Crazy One listeners. Check out the Facebook page.