Asking for a pay raise is challenging for most people. No matter how confident you are about your skills or performance, the prospect of that conversation drums up anxiety. For instance, you might fear appearing greedy or ungrateful. At the same time, you’ll worry that you may not get the desired outcome. But it is an unavoidable discussion if you want the salary you think you deserve. This makes knowing how to ask for a raise essential.
Here’s the good news: if you do ask for a raise, your chances of getting one are good. Consider that, according to a Payscale Survey, 70% of employees who requested a raise received one. Unfortunately, only 37% of the workers surveyed actually made the request. Enough reason for you to muster up the courage to have that conversation with your boss.
As with any professional discussion, preparation is key to putting yourself in the best position for a favorable result. To get you started, here are some best practices on how to ask for a raise.
How to Prepare Before Asking for a Raise
Before we get to how to ask for a raise, let’s see how to do the groundwork for it. Build up the conversation by putting in the time and the work. Show that you’re not just looking for more money, but are invested and committed to the company. By putting in more hours and showing them your value as an employee during the period under consideration, you will create a halo effect (a positive impression that will influence the decision-makers) and work to your advantage.
Also, make sure you know what the company has budgeted for raises over the next few years. If possible, get this information in writing so there aren’t any surprises down the road when discussing compensation strategies with managers who might disagree with the request.
When to Ask for a Pay Raise
The timing of the raise request is pivotal. There are occasions or events which are more effective than others.
- Annual performance reviews are a great time to ask for a raise, though you must begin the conversation a little earlier than the exact date of your appraisal.
- See if the company has posted higher profits. That means they would have the budget to reward their top performers.
- It helps if you’ve made a recent significant contribution to the company. That sets the context for your request.
- Then there is the age-old leverage that an offer from another company gives you. It gives you a reason to have a salary discussion.
Whatever your reason, ensure you are in a good mood when you ask for a raise. You’ll be more likely to say something you don’t mean and come across as rude if you aren’t in the best frame of mind. Also, assess your manager’s mood. If they are angry or upset, their ability to listen will be hampered and, worse, turn a conversation into an argument.
How to Act When Asking for a Raise
Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. There is no point beating about the bush. The clarity in your communication is critical. For instance, try saying, “I know the market rate for my level of responsibility and I request you to reassess my salary, please.” It is evident that you are asking for a raise, and giving a fact-based reason for it.
Getting emotional or seeking sympathy doesn’t work. Statements like “I am the only breadwinner for my family” or “I have bigger dreams for myself” will not deliver the impact you need to get the outcome you want. Your request is a business transaction, and you need to treat it accordingly.
How to Ask for a Raise: What to Say
Make your points based on facts and research, and by showcasing your worth to the company. Use your experience and knowledge of the company to show the vision you have for its growth and how a pay raise can help you realize it. Ensure that your arguments have no loopholes. You should be able to explain why getting more money would benefit both parties involved: yourself and the management.
Know what your position is worth in the market and prepare your pitch accordingly. You can use survey company websites such as Glassdoor, Indeed, and PayScale to understand others’ remuneration. If you are unsure how much your job pays, ask your human resources department questions like “What’s my salary breakup?” or “How much do I make per year?”
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How to Ask for a Raise: What NOT to Do or Say
Pay attention. Here’s what to avoid saying:
- You’re asking for a raise, not the moon. Instead of asking for an absurd amount of money or perks which will alienate your manager, ask for what is reasonable and necessary to do your best work—and then go from there.
- Don’t sound desperate as that can weaken your position and undermine your value to the company.
- Avoid personal reasons for needing a raise. For instance, comparing your salary to your colleagues, as a point of negotiation. Also, steer clear of openers like “I need a raise for personal reasons” or “My spouse makes more than I do and I feel belittled.”
- Don’t sound like you’re complaining or whining: the company might think you aren’t worth the money and let you go anyway—which defeats the purpose of this exercise.
- Instead of threatening to quit, try asking for perks or bonuses—but only if it’s within the company’s budget or the benefits are worth more than just money in hand (e.g., if it would help with childcare costs).
Simply put, the best way to ask for a raise is by showing professionalism, being direct, and staying prepared.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How to Perform Salary Research?
You can do thorough salary research online using survey websites like salary.com, payscale.com, glassdoor.com, etc. These websites have many tools and data to help you conduct exhaustive salary research.
2. How to Recover if the Answer is No?
The first thing to do when you hear a ‘no’ is not to show overt disappointment, even if you feel it. You can always upgrade your skill set and ask for a raise again in the near future.
3. Should I Ask for More Benefits?
Ask for more benefits only if your organization is going through an excellent financial phase. If you feel you can get more perks along with a raise, you should go right ahead.
4. Should I Practice or Rehearse My Pitch?
Practicing your pitch and even rehearsing it with your friends or in front of a mirror is highly recommended. It helps you prepare and feel confident since you know what you will say in advance.
5. Should I Focus on My Accomplishments or Longevity?
It would help if you drew your employer’s attention to the positive feedback you have been getting, plus your longevity. When employers know you are there for the long haul, they will want to invest in you.
If you are still wondering how to ask for a raise or whether to ask for one, let’s help you build your confidence. Did you know that your skills become outdated every five to six years? Having relevant skill sets will give you both the confidence to ask for a raise and also the leverage you need. Explore online courses from Emeritus to upskill and get the pay package you deserve.
By Iha S
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