Asking for a raise at work? Be prepared…
No matter how you go about it, the thought of asking for a raise can make you chillingly anxious. What if you are rejected? Will it leave you in a worse position the next time your annual salary review comes around? What if your boss takes a disliking to your request and you suffer career wise from it?
Here is my advice from over 15 years in the industry both as an employee asking for a raise and a director dealing with salary increase requests.
A clear and concise request
If you’re someone who has difficulty asking for what you want, this may prove tricky for you. Simply stating that you’d like more money, followed by seemingly endless waffle about every aspect of your life is not going to persuade your boss to accept your request. People are busy, so keep your request short, sweet and clearly defined to avoid any misunderstanding.
Have the reasons for your request planned
Your manager is likely to question your eligibility for a raise. While you may be doing a great job at work and over performing, your manager is unlikely to be instantly won-over by your request as they are yet to offer you a salary increase of their own accord. Therefore, when they do ask why you are deserving of a raise it is of paramount importance you can quantifiably justify your request rationale.
Determine Your Value
Part of asking for a salary increase is determining your value to the firm. Jot down your accomplishments, awards and goals. Emphasise situations where you went over and above the requirements for your position. Provide concrete examples, facts and hard data in paper format. All these points will undoubtedly have a bearing on your line-managers thoughts and overall decision, meaning if your request is declined this time around you have still ensured your efforts are not falling by the waist-side.
Tone & Body Language
If your line-manager agrees to your request then he/she is doing you a big favour and this shouldn’t be forgotten. Approaching him/her from a place of respect, whilst portraying both humility and confidence will stand you in good stead, as opposed to either acting over-confident or feeble and needy.
Avoid Careless Mistakes
If you would prefer to make your request via email, please remember to proof-read your email back to yourself several times. When you’re asking for a salary increase that could potentially garner thousands in extra income, what does a couple of minutes from your day matter? A sloppy mistake could be misinterpreted as you not being fully committed to asking and simply chancing your arm, a mistake that is likely to prove costly.
Check Your Documentation
Did you receive an employee handbook when you started at the business? Review the salary guidelines to determine the proper procedures. If there are no salary guidelines in your employee handbook, then check your firm’s Intranet or HR Department for more details.
Do Your Research
To go into salary negotiations without first knowing the market value of your position would be foolish. Luckily, there are a number of salary calculators you can easily locate online through any well-known search engine. Combine the median salary of your position (using the aforementioned online salary calculators) with that of your network of peer’s in the same position that also possess your level of experience, to determine your market worth. With these tangible calculations your line-manager is less likely to have any reason to turn down your request due to a monetary discrepancy during negotiations over a salary increase. Furthermore, searching on popular job boards such as totaljobs or reed for your role will provide an indication of the average salaries received for your position.
Learn From Your Experience
Keep in mind that even with all this advice to prepare you, sometimes rejection is simply unavoidable. Worse yet, it may not even be anything to do with you personally. Your firm could be in the process of laying off members of staff, therefore the timing is just not right at the moment of your request. Your company may also have a strict policy regarding pay rises that tie your line-managers hands, for instance in some organisations employees are ineligible for a rise in the first 18 months of working in their current role.
We wish you all the best with your endeavours, and I’m sure this advice will ensure you’re in a great position to make your case to your line-manager. But as always in your career, strive for the best and over perform in your role and you will reap the benefits, be it this time or the next!