How to Ask For a Raise


Figure Out What’s Going On Behind the Scenes

For the sake of stating the obvious, asking for a raise when your company is in midst of financial chaos is clearly not the best time. But, it is a great time to ask if your company has done well for itself in the last couple of years and you haven’t been offered a raise. Most companies generally offer annual raises but such is only the case if they have been yielding profitable gains – so be knowledgeable about this situation – if people are being laid off, then clearly it’s a wrong time to ask; the last thing you want to include in your approach is, “I understand that it’s not the best timing, but I need a raise.”

Next, you want to be familiar with the current statistics regarding how much your job pays/with the experience you have; if you are already making significantly higher, then requesting for one may not go in your favor. You can easily find such information online, however, we recommend that you discuss this with your HR department. They will be able to tell you about your company’s financial health and discuss ranges of pay scale for your current position (both internal and external). If anything, you’ll be able to open up a dialogue – perhaps the people in HR could convey your intentions to you supervisor.

Know your Worth

Put simply, you must be able to justify your request. It must be clear that you are a diligent employee that goes beyond the bare minimum – in fact, you should be someone who is performing at an outstanding level and not someone who is just “doing their job”. More than your employer noticing your performance, you should be able to pinpoint where and when your presence profited the company. So make sure you are aware of all your accomplishments in your company and just believe in yourself.

Knowing your worth does not mean downplaying your co-workers; mentioning that you perform to your maximum capacity is great, however doing so by comparing other’s lack of fruition will work against you – so don’t throw anybody else under the bus!

Making the Approach

If you are at a level in your career where you need to ask for a raise, then clearly you have invested a good portion of your time into your company – meaning you know how to deal with your boss. If your manager is a straightforward person, then get straight to the point and don’t beat around the bush; start with, “is there a good time to talk about my salary?” This way you make your intentions known right away – and you present it in a humble way. If your employer is more of friend than a boss, then this conversation should not be so awkward as long as it is approached with humility and respect.

You never want to have this conversation in a way where you are coming of complaining or whining – there are certain things that people just do not want to hear. Never start with (or even mention), “ it’s been a long time since I have gotten a raise, ”I’m doing more work than..,” and “I’m having personal problems and I need a raise.” You must strive to get a raise solely based on your worth!

Lastly, if your company does annual performance evaluation, then you should bring the idea of a raise a month to two prior to the review day. In many companies, decisions regarding salaries are made prior to the review so letting them know of your intentions in advance could help your chances.

What to expect

Generally speaking, a 1-3% bump is what you should expect, but if you can justify earning more (up to 5%), then it may be something you can negotiate. However, don’t have unrealistic expectations where you are going to be able to completely change your lifestyle; those kinds of changes only happen if you are being promoted to a higher title and the financial benefits that come with the promotion.

Like we mentioned before, a great place to start is to know the current value trend of your position (in relation to how much experience you have). So if you are way underpaid, then it could be used as pointer during negotiation, however if your employer can justify your current pay, then perhaps it’s best not to ask for one.

What about the Rejection?

Of course, there is always room for rejection; but, a “no” is not a “never”. If you do find yourself in this circumstance, then you can redeem yourself by not asking “why?” but, by asking what can you do to earn a raise.

You don’t want to bring the “if I don’t get it, then I quit” attitude to this discussion, but a great strategy to have some leverage during this discussion is to look for another job and get an (higher) offer. If you are worth keeping, then your employer will immediately match the competitors offer, and if they decide that is not an option for them, well, then you have a better paying job waiting for you. However, if you are offered a higher position minus the pay bump, then we recommend picking the higher title over more money because it will help boost your career in the long run – and higher pay could be foreseen during the next evaluation review. Perhaps after a bit of an experience under the new title, you may be able to look for a higher paying new job elsewhere.

Asking for a raise can certainly be a humiliating and/or awkward discussion but it doesn’t have to be as long as you can justify your request. We highly encourage you to think of these bullet points before you ask for a raise and wish you the best of luck in your endeavor. We would love to hear people’s opinions and all advice regarding the topic is welcomed. We would also appreciate it if you could share some of your experience(s) – both as an employer who gets asked and an employee who asked for a raise!

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