Asking for a raise takes guts. Especially in this economy.But asking for a raise that you deserve is perfectly reasonable, and you should go for it once you’ve done the necessary prep work.
We talked to several HR execs and career coaches about how to go about this. The consensus is that asking for a raise is a big deal, and you’re going to need to do some research.
Click here to read the experts’ tips >
“That old idea of getting a raise once a year is gone,” says Nancy Fox of The Business Fox. It’s best to make your boss believe a raise is a “win-win situation,” she says, benefiting not just you, but the company.
We also found that showing your boss tangibles, like keeping a log with numbers of clients or the revenue you’ve raised, is a good idea. But intangibles, like your ability to build good relationships with business partners, are also a part of your unique value, which lets your boss know you deserve a raise before anyone else, career coach Christopher Browning told us.
We gathered 11 tips about when and how to ask for a raise — and what to do if you don’t get one.
Fox says you should consider many things before asking for a raise: is your company in a strong financial situation? Have you done work that merits a raise?
If you've recently enjoyed successes at work, this may be the best time to ask for a raise. 'Set an appointment with your boss to discuss important issues, or company goals,' Fox says. 'Then take the opportunity to talk about your role and your actions.'
Gather credible evidence about salaries within your organisation, at your company's competitors, and industrywide.
'Anecdotal information from friends and colleagues doesn't count,' says career coach Ann Daly.
Back up your request with real numbers. 'In other words, how does your boss measure your contributions to the bottom line of the business?' Daly told us.
Fox says you should keep a 'victory log,' where you can keep track of all your successes: whether you've brought a great person to the company, played a big part in getting a client, or trained someone for a job.
Other numbers to keep track of: number of clients, percentage of sales, reduction in costs, size of projects, and completion time, says Daly.
This might help you identifying what you do best, or how to get better.
'Ask what about your performance would really impress you, or what your manager should be upset to lose about you if you left,' says Alison Green, from Ask a Manager.
'Truth is, a lot of bosses want to promote their employees,' Fox says.
But asking your boss for a raise also puts her in a delicate position, because she now has to make a case for you to higher executives. You have to make your boss think this is a win-win situation -- that your raise won't just benefit you, but will also benefit the company with future projects, harder work, higher revenue, etc.
Browning says that when asking for a raise, people tend to focus on what they do, but they should be focusing on how they do it.
Figure out what makes you unique, he told us. While there might be other colleagues who sell just as much, or complete projects in a short time, they may not maintain great relationships with clients, or make everyone at the office feel more comfortable.
'It's definitely on their mind that they risk losing you if they can't do what you're asking. You don't need to spell it out,' says Green.
Fox says getting an offer in writing from another company gives you leverage, but, it's a sensitive issue. You don't want the other company, who's giving you a legitimate offer, to feel you like you're using it just for a pay raise.
Go after it if you really want it.
The conventional wisdom is that he who speaks first, loses, but studies suggest that you're more likely to be successful if you speak up first, according to this article by Suzanne Lucas: 'Sometimes (often!) you need to be the one to speak up and say, 'Hey, I want a promotion!''
'Be straight and practice confidence,' says Fox.
If you get an answer along the lines of, 'We're not giving raises right now,' you can respond with: 'I understand, but here's what I'd like to request, can we discuss this again in 90 days, or six months?'
Or: 'It's important for me to have this conversation later on because I want to make a bigger impact on the company. Do you agree that's a good idea?' Fox says.
If a monetary raise is out of the question, think about other perks you might be interested in.
'Most people are willing to work for less money if their job makes them feel better about themselves,' Browning told us.
A new cubicle, a day off every two months for voluntary work, or a more flexible schedule are just a couple of examples of lifestyle raises you can ask for in your office, he says.
This way, you're doing the prep work you need before asking for a raise and getting your boss to think positively about you.
'You want to find proficiency in the process, not the position,' Browning told us. Make your boss think of you outside of what your position is. If you sell the way you do things, rather than the things you do, they will want to keep you for your unique value, not just for the numbers you make.
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