by Simon Smith
There are a lot of reasons to ask for a raise. Maybe you’ve worked at your present position for a number of years without a pay increase. Possibly you’ve been given more responsibilities or experienced changes in your role within the company. Sometimes the decision to ask for a higher salary is the fact that you know your hard work and continued efforts have directly resulted in financial rewards for your company and you want to reap some of the benefits.
No matter what the reasons for asking for more money, you have them and it’s nothing to feel awkward about. There’s no reason you should feel sheepish about the subject, but know that you should be prepared to walk your boss through all aspects of your current performance, as well as your future aspirations. Companies aren’t in the business of simply handing out cash to whoever asks, but they are willing to keep good employees happy and reward productivity with a positive tip of the pay scale.
For those willing to accept that it’s possible—and most likely a raise is always in the cards if you play them right—the real challenge is in succinctly making your case to those who make the decisions in your organization. The following are several things to keep in mind when making your move toward a more fruitful future.
While success is never a given, these tips are guaranteed to put you on the right path.
First, Know the Facts
Do you know your employer’s policies when it comes to pay raises? For instance, your company might typically only award salary increases after an employee receives his or her yearly review. If this is the case, it’s not going to go well asking for a raise any other time of the year. Of course, don’t let that dissuade you from building your case over time. If you’ve been going above and beyond as of late, it doesn’t hurt to point that out now with your boss—that way you can simply remind him or her of the conversation when it comes time for that annual review.
Research the current market in regards to average salaries.
Consider yourself a commodity when it comes to striking a successful deal; it’s important to know what other employers are paying for similar positions in your area. Discovering such details is now easier than ever with the Internet, but beware of anything that sounds too good to be true. Often online salary calculators are off the mark and can leave you looking foolish at the negotiating table—remember that these rarely take into account all relevant factors. Certain things such as the number of available jobs in your area, the size and experience level of your local workforce, even your current pay; these are crucial points that can affect what would be a realistic request and an overall smart move on your part.
Plan, Prepare, Then Make Your Pitch
Focus on past accomplishments. The best way to sway someone over to your way of thinking is to give them reasons that support your argument—and, no, simply saying you want or deserve the bump in pay is not a reason, at least not in the eyes of your boss. Try explaining the value you provide to both the company and your fellow workers. You’ll also want to back up any claim with concrete examples. Whether you’ve been saving the company money or continually taking the lead on projects, these are the actions that merit a pay increase. The more details you dole out the better, so include dates and even coworkers names who can confirm your performance. Keep in mind that your pay is supposed to be compensation for your contribution to the company. It has nothing to do with what you want or need, so forgo any mention of car payments, rent increases or unexpected bills.
Know what’s negotiable
When you’re wanting to take things to the next level, it might not always involve pumping up your paycheck. Many people will bring other aspects of employment into the negotiations such as vacation time, stock options or the amount of your 401k match. Other negotiating points to consider include telecommuting or flexible work hours, tuition reimbursement for an advanced degree or even a bigger office or workspace. Don’t be afraid to ask about adjustments to other benefits that would ultimately put more money in your pocket. A prime example is health insurance; whether it’s the portion you pay toward the premium or company contributions to a health savings account, any financial assistance can impact your bottom line. Just make sure you have a good idea of what you ideally want, as well as what might also be up for discussion before sitting down with your boss.
Timing is everything.
Most likely originating as an aphorism for athletes, this old adage holds true in many situations—including this one. If your boss is feeling pressure on a project from his or her supervisor, now might not be the week you want to push your agenda. Instead, try pitching in and helping your boss in whatever way possible. Then, when things get back to normal, you’ll have even more reason to support your request for a raise. Also, be cognizant of your company’s current position of profitability. Immediately following the fall out of a big merger or during a time when your employer is considering trimming back on staff, even when it would not directly affect your department—these are generally considered to be bad times for you to state your case.
Remember, Sore Losers Never Win T
There’s lots of information out there on how to negotiate a raise; ranging from any number of simple steps to tried and true negotiating techniques. Yet, even with seemingly unending sources for how to move forward, there are remarkably few (sources) that discuss how to handle the potential for derailment of your plans. In other words, how should you handle a rejection of your proposal as you will continue to work under this manager, and there’s every probability that you will want to broach the subject again at some point—so how do you react to rejection without putting future propositions at risk? The answer is to just keep it professional. That means no pouting, sulking or selfdeprecating behavior. You reached for the brass ring and missed, but don’t think the opportunity won’t come back around at a later time. Most people understand that such requests are a part of doing business, but realize that your employer expects you to be focused on the business at hand, not the bulk of your wallet. Rest assured that, in due time, the rewards will come as long as you always take care of your responsibilities.