Few things are more nerve-wracking than asking your employer for a raise, but there comes a time when it becomes necessary. If you truly believe you’re deserving of a pay raise, there are certain things you can do to increase your chances of actually getting one.
Here are a few of our best tips.
Demonstrate the value you add.
Of everything you can do, this is likely to be your best argument for getting the raise you think you deserve. If you can prove to your manager that you have helped move the company forward and added real value to the team and to the organization as a whole, they will be hard pressed to deny you the raise you’re asking for.
Come to the conversation prepared with a list of accomplishments you’ve had during your time with the company. Also highlight what it is that you personally contribute to the team. If you have numbers or other data about the value you’ve added (e.g. your efforts resulted in higher sales which brought in (x) amount of dollars), even better! The more specific and irrefutable, the more likely you’ll be to get the raise.
Know how much to ask for.
This is a big part of any salary negotiation. The fact is, there is a going market rate for the job you are doing. If your pay is below that typical range (for someone in your area with your skill level and experience), or at the low end of it, then you’ll be able to present a stronger case.
Additionally, asking for too much is going to shock your manager, and not in a good way. Make sure that you’re asking for competitive pay, but also fair pay. A manager is more likely to grant a generous but reasonable request. Do your research to find out what people in your position and region typically make, and keep your ask close to that range.
Remember: timing is everything.
Timing is everything for a lot of important conversations, and talks about pay are no exception. Ask at the right time, and you’ll increase your chances of getting the raise. Ask at the wrong time, and you’ll lower them.
Generally speaking, don’t ask for a raise when:
- The company is going through layoffs
- The company is experiencing some form of financial stress or trouble
- Your manager is struggling with personal issues
- Stress levels are heightened, perhaps due to a taxing project
- You’ve had a recent failure or setback
Also, knowing when raises are usually given can work in your favor, as you’ll be more likely to get the raise you want if you ask during that time frame.
Focus on why you deserve the raise, not on why you want one.
There are probably plenty of reasons why you want this raise: you want to travel more, you want more money for discretionary spending, bills are tight, you’re going through some life changes, etc. But managers are concerned with the money you deserve, not with the money you need or want.
Try to keep this conversation strictly professional. Don’t mention why the raise would be nice; instead, mention your accomplishments, the value you add, and why you deserve it.
Explain how this will be a good thing for the team.
Similarly, your manager needs to realize that this raise is ultimately going to benefit the entire team, and not just your wallet. There needs to be a good reason for them to justify giving you the raise you’re asking for.
A great way to do this is to share the goals you have for your future with the company. What value are you going to add over the next year? What is the company working on that you’re excited about? How will your skills bring the company closer to reaching its goals as an organization? With this information, managers get a clearer picture of how giving you the raise (and keeping you on the team) will benefit everyone in the long run.
Don’t jump into the conversation without practicing first. You should have a clear idea of what you’re going to say, and how you’re going to say it, before the conversation begins. You want to go into this conversation looking and feeling confident, and the best way to do that is to be prepared.
Give your proposal in front of a mirror, or even better, to a friend. Try to anticipate your manager’s responses and questions, and be prepared with answers and data.
Be prepared to hear “no” or “I’ll think about it.”
The truth is, you’re unlikely to get a “yes” right away. More likely, you’ll get an answer of “I’ll think about it” or “Let me get back to you.” If this is the case, ask your manager two questions:
- “Is there any more information I can give you to help you make your decision?”
- “Is it okay if I follow up with you in a couple days?”
This provides you the chance to present your case even further, and to keep the request at the forefront of their minds once the conversation is over.
If the answer is ultimately “no,” be gracious about it. Ask for feedback about what you could do better to deserve the raise, and perhaps even suggest revisiting the conversation in a few months.
Asking for a raise isn’t something that most people enjoy, but sometimes, it’s necessary for getting you the pay you deserve. With the right information, the right mindset, and the right approach, you’ll better your chances.
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