Are you feeling undervalued and underpaid at work? Are you ready to make a case for a salary increase but unsure of how to go about it? Asking for a raise can be a nerve-wracking prospect, but by following a few key steps, you can increase your chances of getting the salary you deserve. In this article, we’ll provide insight on when to ask for a raise, the best way to plan for it, and how to present your case.
Is the timing right?
Knowing when to ask for a raise is an important factor in the success of your request. Generally speaking, these scenarios are ideal:
- You’ve made significant contributions to the company.
- You’ve taken on new responsibilities.
- You’ve received a glowing performance review.
- You’ve been with the company for a certain amount of time. (At least 6 months; it takes time for a company to get to know you and understand your value.)
- You’ve received a better offer from another company.
If one of these applies to you and you’re ready to move forward, make sure you step back and take a pulse on things first. Is your boss especially stressed right now? Is the company in the middle of a new business deal? Is it the holiday season? There will be times when delaying your request is in your best interest.
How to prepare.
In order to make a compelling pitch for a raise you’ll need to arm yourself with information that demonstrates the value you have added to the company. This could include performance reviews, letters of recommendation, customer compliments, before-and-after metrics such as sales figures, and other quantifiable statistics on the success of your work. Gather evidence of your achievements and successes, and be prepared to show how they benefited the company.
Employers typically have their own ideas about how much their employees should earn, so you’ll also want to conduct research on salary trends in your industry. Utilize published salary data and reports from resources such as salary.com, payscale.com, and LinkedIn. When comparing industry data, make sure you consider factors that may influence the numbers — such as location, education level, and experience. (For example, salaries for a similar job may be higher in a city with a higher cost of living than yours.) Taking the time to research salary trends will give you a better understanding of the current market rate so you can make a more convincing argument when asking for a raise.
Now that you have all the data and information, it’s time to practice. Develop a practice guide using these tips:
- Create an outline of your pitch and memorize it.
- Go through the motions of what you’re going to say and present.
- Take notes along the way so that you can edit and improve on the fly.
- Record your practice run to ensure that you aren’t coming off too aggressive or entitled.
- Make sure you have a clear idea of what you’re willing to accept.
- Be ready to negotiate; practice negotiating skills with friends or family.
Make your case.
You’ve done all the prep work and now it’s time to make your case. A few quick pointers for your delivery:
- Make sure your tone is respectful and positive from the start.
- When presenting your accomplishments it’s critical that you explain how they have benefited the company.
- State why you feel like you are underpaid, and what you feel a reasonable salary increase would be.
- Try to anticipate any questions or objections your boss might have.
- End on a positive note: thank them for their time, and tell them you’re looking forward to their response.
Making your case in this manner will demonstrate your professionalism, show that you’re confident in what you’re saying, and give you the best chance of success.
If they say no.
If, after you’ve made your case, your employer still says no, the best thing you can do is stay positive and remain professional. Even if you don’t get the raise you were asking for, it doesn’t have to be seen as a failure. It’s important to understand that it takes time and effort to gain the trust of your employer and that a successful negotiation requires both parties to come away feeling satisfied.
As such, it’s important to graciously thank your employer for their time and for listening to your proposal. This shows that you understand their perspective and that you’re willing to continue the conversation in the future. It’s a good idea to ask if there is any specific feedback you can use to improve your case next time. If they’re willing to discuss, take notes and ask specific questions to ensure you have a clear understanding of their feedback. In the end, it’s all part of the process. Your employer wants to ensure that the salary increase you are asking for is fair and equitable, and that it’s in the best interests of the company.