One of the most daunting tasks you may encounter at your job is asking for a pay raise. While asking for an increase in salary isn’t easy, it should be talked about and negotiated with your employer when the time is right. Below, we look at why you should ask for one, the best time to do it, and effective strategies to help you receive it.
Why Ask for a Raise?
This seems like a no-brainer question, doesn’t it? The obvious answer is to earn more money and gain control of your financial situation. But there are other reasons why you should request a pay hike.
Some reasons include:
● You were promised an increase in your wages and have not received it yet.
● New responsibilities have been added to your job.
● You received a promotion and possibly a new title.
● You learned new skills that have added to your value and productivity as an employee.
● You have continually outperformed your peers and go beyond your boss’ expectations.
By bringing up the subject of a pay raise, you’re positioning yourself to earn more money and improve your overall financial situation. But you are also communicating to yourself and your employer that you believe in the work that you’re doing and place value on your skills and abilities. Knowing why you are asking for a raise is important, but so is knowing when to negotiate for it.
When to Negotiate It
We’ve all heard the saying that “timing is everything” and that is true when negotiating for a pay increase. Some experts feel that a recession or downturn in the economy is not a good time to broach the subject with your employer. But others say it depends on several factors, not just the current financial climate.
Some factors to consider on the best time to negotiate a raise include:
Your company’s financial situation. They may be having a good year despite a down economy or a not-so-great year when everyone else is doing well. The time to ask for a raise is when your organization is performing well fiscally.
The market price for your position has gone up. If you are in a role that now is in higher demand and the industry has increased compensation, it may be time to ask for a raise. This is especially true if your company hasn’t kept up with the rest of the market.
Your most recent performance review was stellar. Hitting it out of the park and your boss is super happy with what you are doing? It’s time to ask for a pay increase.
A head hunter or competitor has offered you a position. If you’re good at what you do, a head hunter or a competitor’s talent acquisition scout may reach out to you with a juicy offer to leave your role. Assuming you want to stay with your current employer, you now have some leverage to ask for a raise.
Now that you’ve determined that it’s a good time to ask for a raise, what are some effective ways to ensure you receive one?
Asking for a raise is a little easier if you go into it with some foreknowledge and preparation. Here are some things to keep in mind:
● Do your research. Know what your company’s earnings are this fiscal year; whether they are in a salary freeze, and what the organization’s goals are. Check out what a competitive salary is in your field. Also helpful to know: current economic situation in your industry, city, and nation.
● Set an appointment. Agree on a specific time to meet with boss about your compensation. Pick a time when they are not stressed, under a big deadline, or going through personal issues.
● Brag a little. Be sure to talk about how you’ve impacted the company’s growth and bottom line, any recent accomplishments at work (with real numbers and data), responsibilities you’ve taken on voluntarily, or new skills you’ve acquired. Your boss may be aware of these but it helps to refresh their memory.
● Give them something. You’re asking management to give you a pay increase, so they need to know what’s in it for them. Explain how you plan to help them expand productivity, sales, or profits in the future.
● Be tactful and to the point. This is a business conversation so it is important to not be pushy or emotional. Any type of guilt, threats, or ultimatums are not helpful.
● Have a number in mind. If you’re asked what you would like to be paid, be ready to give an answer. It should be in line with what the market pays, with a little extra padding (but not too high) so your boss can counter-offer and you still come out ahead.
● Put it in writing. This allows your boss to reflect on what you’ve said, review your points, and share with their higher-ups as to why you should be given a raise.
● Follow up. You most likely will not get an immediate answer to your request. Schedule a time to follow up with your boss.
● Be prepared for the answer. Have a game plan when you do get an answer. If it’s a yes, it may be contingent on you making some concessions in other areas or adding on to responsibilities. If it’s a no, will you stay on with your current role or start looking for another job? Think about the possible scenarios and what your response will be.
Asking for a raise is not something to take lightly. It should be planned and acted upon with some forethought and reflection. In doing so, you gain not only the experience of negotiating a pay increase but the financial benefit as well.