I am an electronics engineer in a medium size company (50 people) specialized in precision measurements. I work on the development of a very cool product: innovative and with good potential.
The way the product is developed so far is very expensive, production cost would be around 15000€ per unit. I have thought of another architecture solution to reduce that cost to 1000€. Reducing production cost by a factor of 15 is a very significant contribution.
My solution could be described in 4 of 5 patents and would open markets leading to tens of millions of $/€ of added revenue because the product would be more affordable and easier to adapt to other applications.
I am much younger than my superiors, I have been in this company for a bit less than a year. I generally happily share my advice and contribute to the development of the product. In part thanks to the signal processing I have implemented, the technology has reached performance never seen in the company before. I have already made several contributions including one which has been patented. I have badly negotiated my salary at my hiring because it is my first job in a private company (I was a postdoc in academia before). I now feel I am underpaid for my skills.
I haven't told my new idea to my superiors yet as I feel I could leverage it in a salary negotiation. If I naively give away my solution, they probably won't even think of giving me a raise.
Is a doubling of my salary reasonable to ask? That would still be far less than 1% of the revenue generated from this contribution, and still be inferior to my bosses' salaries.
How should I manage this negotiation? Should I :
- Describe the potential of my solution to my superiors and withhold the technical description until they commit to raise my salary in the eventuality that the solution works and is implemented?
- Start by detailing the solution with no strings attached, then approach my superiors to ask for a raise?
- Approach my superiors to ask for a raise stating that I have thought of a great solution, then detail the solution?
- Discuss the solution with other colleagues and involve them completely so we commonly ask that we all get a raise for this solution ?
- Involve my technical superior to help me negotiate a raise with the business/HR superior?
- Ask for royalties on the future patent even though it would belong to the company (not common practice as it is not intended by the law)?
I love my job, the atmosphere in the team and relations with my superiors. I don't want to compromise all these good aspects. I would be glad to see the company succeed with the implementation of my solution. It's just that I fear to be frustrated from not getting paid enough in comparison to the contribution that my solution represents.
What is the correct approach to leverage a technical solution idea for a proportional raise ?