How to Ask for a Raise

How To Ask For a RaiseYou feel that it’s time to get more than you’re paid after working for an employer for a considerable period. You might be doing more work than you signed up for, or have absorbed the roles of some colleagues that left. Perhaps you’ve noticed that professionals like you earn more, or that your colleagues get bigger paychecks.

 

Any of these situations could convince you that you’re ripe for a raise. The problem is, you don’t know how to ask for it.

Applying for a raise or negotiating your salary can be an awkward undertaking. On the one hand, you might be unwilling to face the disappointment of rejection. On the other hand, you could be afraid your employer will find a way to oust you. These fears can make any employee tongue-tied about asking for an overdue raise.

According to a PayScale survey, only 63% of respondents said they were yet to ask their current employers for a raise. While some already received a raise without asking, others don’t believe they’re in the position to ask for it.

However, you’ll likely remain underpaid for an extended period if you don’t speak up. In addition, your employer may be unaware that you’re not satisfied with your salary.

But how do you negotiate your raise?

This article guides you on what to do, what to say, and what to avoid.

What are the Reasons to Ask for a Raise?

We’ve just mentioned a few scenarios that put you in a good position for a raise. However, before you move forward with actions, ask yourself why you’re doing it. Ensure your push for a raise is wholly justified. Here are the reasons you should expect a bigger paycheck:

  • You’ve been at the company for a long time without a raise
  • You received a better job offer from another company
  • You received a promotion
  • You made significant achievements for the company
  • The organization reported strong quarterly earnings

Be Comfortable with Your Mission

Many employees avoid starting discussions about their salaries with employers because they believe they aren’t in the position to do so. So instead, they wait around until the HR decides to promote them. In that case, you may be looking at a long wait.

While asking for a raise may seem nerve-racking, your boss won’t see it as a big deal. Since they deal with payroll all the time, the conversation won’t be as charged or uneasy for them as you’d expect.

And if you have a reasonable and easy-going manager, they will likely expect you to come up with the suggestion. Even if they don’t immediately say yes, you shouldn’t think that the conversation will strain your relationship.

As long as your work speaks for itself and you’re asking for a reasonable raise, you shouldn’t be scared. What’s more, you should include getting a raise when setting your career goals.

Also, that your manager or boss doesn’t immediately say yes does not mean your case for a raise is over. Instead, they now recognize your position on the matter and will take steps to ensure you get what you deserve.

Being comfortable with what you’ve set out to do is crucial because you have to be assertive and confident during the discussion. This way, they won’t perceive any sense of hesitation and will respect your stance.

Prepare for the Conversation

Believing that you’re underpaid and knowing that others earn more than you aren’t sufficient facts to bring to the negotiating table. Instead, you must arm yourself with factual data and outline reasonable talking points to back your position.

What is a Good Salary Raise to Ask for?

Check salary trends to know your ideal salary. This way, you know where to start your negotiations and what to accept. So, ask friends and check recruitment sites to know how much professionals earn in your field. You could also speak to trusted colleagues and get their input.

Consider other factors and don’t rely solely on the numbers you find on the Internet. For example, salary websites generalize salary ranges and can be off in some cases. The same job title listed on the site may come with varying roles depending on the company.

Also, consider how your region and geographical location affect salary structures.

Understand Your Company’s Salary Structure

Understanding your company’s salary structure would help you plan and put things in perspective. As it turns out, some employers stick to rigid payment policies regarding raises. For example, some companies don’t go above a 5% payment increase, while others can be more generous.

Knowing these facts allows you to shape your argument without being struck down by company policy because your boss’ hands will be tied.

You should also look at other specific company policies regarding raises. For example, do raises come seasonally? Do they come with promotions and new roles? And how does your company handle payment increases in your location?

Evaluate Your Role

In what capacity are you working? Are you handling multiple roles? How critical are the jobs you handle? Can the company afford to see you go? Answer these questions and use them to assess your value to the organization. If you’re saving the company costs and bringing in revenue, check whether your worth is reflected in your salary. If not, determine the margin by which you’re off.

List Your Accomplishments

Knowing what you’ve done for the organization and how much you’ve accomplished builds a sense of self-worth. Articulating these accomplishments to your boss reminds them how much they need you. This way, you’re setting up a formidable position during the conversation.

So, ensure you use numbers and metrics to drive your point home. For example, tell them how your skills as a team player improved efficiency by 30%. You should also outline critical moments where your input and resourcefulness saved the company costs, retained a client, or pushed a project across the finish line.

Determine Your Raise Percentage

Use the facts you gathered to determine the raise percentage to request. Make sure you’re going for a number within the realm of possibility. Don’t be afraid to table your offer as long as you believe your raise is long overdue.

If your company’s pay increase policy limit is 5%, consider starting from that and leaving the door open for negotiations.

Choose the Right Time for the Discussion

Timing is another critical aspect of your plan. Your bid could fall apart if you bring it up at the wrong time. Some internal situations require holding your horses, while others indicate it’s the best time to ask. Here are some factors to consider when choosing the time to ask for your raise.

What’s the Company’s Present Financial Situation?

It’s not the right time to ask for a raise when the company faces financial challenges. You should know your organization’s financial situation before deciding to make a move. Go through the latest financial reports, and look for indicators like layoffs and spending cutbacks. You should also follow the news about your company and talk to colleagues.

If your research helps you find out that the company is in a good place financially, the data you uncover will further help your case. If anything, it could show how your contributions aided the business.

It would be good to wait for the next quarterly financial report, so you’re armed with the latest official data to back your claim.

What’s Your Current Standing Within the Organization?

Understanding where you currently stand with the company is another factor worth considering before you bring up a raise. If you’re the subject of an internal review or are facing personal work challenges, it wouldn’t be the best time to ask for a raise. Wait until everything blows over and you’re cleared of any wrong.

On the other hand, there’s no better time to ask for a raise than when you’ve reached significant milestones. Consider how much you’ve offered during the past few months and assess if you’ve been appropriately compensated.

When Did You Last Get a Raise?

An unfairly long period without a raise will encourage you to ask for it, especially if others have been considered ahead of you. It’s possible that a glitch somewhere somehow made HR forget about your raise, and asking could bring their attention back to it.

That said, you must approach the issue the right way. However, if you recently got a raise but aren’t satisfied, give it some time before bringing up the topic again.

If you’ve never gotten a raise since you started the job, consider how long you’ve been at the company. It wouldn’t be a great idea to ask for a salary increase six months into the position, regardless of how many roles you’ve taken.

When is the Next Salary Review Cycle?

As we mentioned, most companies follow strict payment policies. It would be good to wait around for the next salary review cycle to make your case. This way, you’re putting your name forward for consideration.

Indeed, you can share your disappointment with not receiving a raise after a review cycle. Still, remind your boss or the HR about your situation just before the next process.

How is Your Boss’ Workload?

It’s not a good idea to ask your boss for a raise if they’re under a lot of pressure. For example, they could be dealing with an external crisis, issues with shareholders, or trying to convince a client to stay.

You should read the situation and wait until they’re relaxed before bringing up your issue. Then, pay attention to their moods. If you can, offer to help resolve the critical problems they’re currently facing. This way, you’ll get recognized when you finally table the matter.

Have You been Offered a New Job?

You could move up your timeline if you got a better job offer that requires a reply. Then, tell your bosses about the offer if you want to remain in your current organization. This way, you’re allowing them to match it, showing brand loyalty.

Extra tip: Because a company offers to pay you more doesn’t mean you should jump ship immediately. Consider the working conditions and other factors before thinking about saying yes. However, you should still use the offer as part of your negotiation whether you intend to take the job or not.

Other Great Times to Ask for a Raise?

The following are also great opportunities to ask for a raise:

  • Before and after your annual performance review
  • After executing an important project
  • When you help your company land a major client

Request a Meeting

Secure an appointment with your manager to ask for the raise. It’s better to have this kind of conversation privately and in person.

If you’re in a different location from your boss, request a video call appointment. The best setting for such a meeting is behind a closed door. Don’t ambush them in work areas like an elevator, breakroom, or hallway.

And avoid asking for the raise over an email if you can. Instead, draft a professional email letting them know you want a meeting.

Also, if you have a performance review coming up, you can take that opportunity to talk about a raise. That’s if the review involves a one-on-one interview. If it doesn’t, set up the meeting one to two weeks in advance. This way, they’ll consider you for a raise during the review.

In any case, ensure you tell your manager the purpose of the meeting when requesting it. Catching them off guard will likely backfire, and you’d want them to be prepared for the conversation.

Prepare What to Say During the Meeting and Be Ready for Questions

Now that you’re armed with all the facts you need and have set a meeting, it’s time to prepare. You should know the right things to say and how to say them. You should also prepare for the questions you are likely to be asked.

You don’t have to create and rehearse a strict script. Allow your reasons and objectives to guide your talking points. You should be clear and concise. Remind your boss of your continued commitment to the company and how the raise will reflect your contributions.

Here are some guidelines on engaging your boss during the conversation:

Practice your Talking Points

Discussions about financial issues are sensitive, and you will likely feel anxious and afraid. Rehearsing your talking points and creating a rough script can help ease your nerves. This way, you’ll become comfortable talking about the raise.

You can use a friend or colleague who strikes a similar demeanor as your boss during your rehearsals. Then, stick with the professional reasons for requesting a raise.

What Should I Say When Asking for a Raise?

While you can start with a “Good day” greeting, you must go straight to the point. Your manager has a lot on their plate, and you don’t want to waste their time. So, start with why you called for the meeting, then follow up with your reasons for asking for the raise.

Outline your achievements and contributions, and show them data from your research.

What Should You Not Say When Asking for a Raise?

How To Ask For a Raise

Stay confident throughout your pitch and stick to what you’ve practiced. You should also avoid saying words and phrases that will undercut your position. They include:

How To Ask For a Raise

Prepare for Questions

As you know, the meeting is a discussion, not a presentation. Your manager will come up with questions and reservations about your pitch. You should have the proper response if you’re going to make any headway.

For example, if they suggest that you’re asking for too much, tell them you’re within the company’s policy limit for raises. Also, let them know that the number is reasonable and in line with your contributions and achievements.

Next, if they suggest that they’ll make a case for you, ask them how you can help to prove that you deserve the raise.

Generally, make sure you don’t get visibly upset by their pushbacks. Instead, use facts and reasonable arguments to continue making your case. And ensure you always use a positive tone throughout the conversation.

How Do you Ask for a 20% Raise?

As we mentioned, you must go through your company’s salary structure and carefully consider other factors to find out what’s possible. In many cases, a 20% raise may seem too much. However, if you’ve been neglected for too long and believe you deserve as high as that, you can make your case.

Be Prepared for a “No”

There’s a chance you’ll get a negative response despite your best efforts. That said, it shouldn’t halt your mission. You can use the conversation to guide your next steps. Don’t just take the answer and leave the meeting.

You can take the opportunity to ask for time off or ask your employer to be open to revisiting the matter after some months. You can also tie the next meeting to your reaching specific milestones or the company’s success.