You want a raise. I want a raise. We all want a raise! It’s probably the most commonly expressed desire in the workplace. But how can you make it happen?
“Asking for a raise requires preparation, skill, timing and a fallback plan. It also demands wrapping your mind around a basic fact many employees miss: A pay increase is based on performance and the market for your skills,” writes Scott Reeves author of Seven No-Nos When Asking for a Raise.
If a company cannot meet your monetary needs, think outside of the paycheck. Childcare, vacation days, healthcare and tuition compensation may all be extras you can think of as “raise” material.
First, you need to do your research. You need to build your case based on hard data about your performance and how you helped your company or clients achieve success. The numbers will tell the story for you. In addition, learn what your company can afford to give you by reading its quarterly earnings report. Remember that if your company is in the midst of layoffs or low earnings, you shouldn’t ask for or expect much.
Check out salary surveys to get a benchmark of what others in your position are making. There are several online surveys available, but the best way to really get a good estimate about salary is from real people. Read How to Get Salary Data You Can Really Use, for tips.
In addition, timing is everything, literally. “If you don’t receive an annual salary review, make your pitch when your boss has the time to listen. Chances are it won’t be first thing Monday morning or late Friday afternoon. Start negotiations slowly–ask to set up a time in a short e-mail. Be patient if you don’t get an immediate response,” Reeves relates.
As important, there are some very specific things to avoid when you are asking your boss to show you the money.
- Leave your personal life out of it. Raises are based on merit, only. Your boss likes you but not enough to really care about paying for your wedding (or kids’ college, or credit card debt)
- Threaten to leave or quit if the raise doesn’t happen. Uh … career hari-kari, anyone?
- Asking over and over and over. Be selective of how much you ask. Make sure to time your requests correctly to ensure you get what you want.
When Raise Requests go Wrong
So, you get your raise request in order, deliver it perfectly and get the big … N.O. Getting turned down doesn’t necessarily mean no. You were able to have the confidence to ask for a raise, so keep the ball rolling and follow up. There are possibilities if the initial proposal isn’t accepted, as discussed in 10 Tips for How to ask for a Raise.
- Ask if there is something you could do to earn an increase.
- If your boss says this is a bad time, ask when it might be reasonable to revisit the subject.
- Maybe a bonus is a more reasonable request, especially if the rejection is more of a budget issue.
- Ask for a better title. It won’t give you an immediate monetary compensation, but it might set you up for a better negotiation position in the future.
In addition, a raise may not be all about money. If a company cannot meet your monetary needs, think outside of the paycheck. Childcare, vacation days, healthcare and tuition compensation may all be extras you can think of as “raise” material.