The right way to ask for a raise

by Harry Shelton

Everyone who works would like to earn more money. The good news is that most people do get a raise every year. Increases in inflation mean that most people need to keep their salary in check and companies are quite willing to match or beat inflation rate increases. However, if you think you want a larger raise then you need to approach it in the right way. We asked employers and managers about how employees should approach the raise issue and what is the best way to ask. Here is what we learned.

Show you deserve it

The most important part of the whole process is to be able to show why you deserve a raise. Some people think that if they have been in a role for two years they should automatically get a pay increase but that is not the case. To earn a raise you have to show that you are meeting and exceeding goals that have been set at your level. Take note of all your accomplishments and be able to go through them one by one to show that you really do deserve a raise.

Prepare your boss in advance

Managers told us that when asking for a raise it is best not to surprise your manager, the easiest option for them is always to say no. Instead, ask for a meeting a number of weeks or months in advance and ask how you are performing and what you could do better for the company. Use this as an opportunity to outline some clear guidelines. Go away and work on these goals and show that you are achieving them. Once you are kicking ass at your current role you have everything set up for the raise conversation.

Dress for the job you want

An old saying in the world of business is to dress for the job you want not the job you have. If all the managers wear shirts and trousers and the subordinates wear T-shirts and jeans, start wearing a shirt to show how seriously you take your work. However, this is an analogy for the work you do as well. Take a look at the responsibilities that your promoted self would have in the future and try to take them on now. If you do it too subtly either no one will notice or it will be taken for granted, so make sure your boss realizes the extra work you are taking on. This loops back to the importance of that meeting about setting goals.

Choose your moment

If you company just missed its yearly target, if you just lost a client, if there is a recession, these are not the best moments to ask for a raise. Try and time your question with a recent success in the company and in your job. This will allow you to strike at the right time when the company is more willing to spend.

Don’t make it personal

While you may need the extra money to send your child to a nice school, that is not important in the meeting. While that might soften up your manager a little, he or she probably has to get approval from higher up and they will reject that reason straight away. Instead, use only professional examples as reasons why you deserve a raise. ‘Need’ should not be a part of the question.

Do your homework

It is important that you know your worth. Examine what the average salary is at your level and use these examples as proof points of why you need a raise. If you learn that you are overpaid or could be easily replaced then it is time to start working harder in that role. 

If all else fails then the easiest way to get a raise is to get another company to make you an offer. Use that offer as leverage in your current company. Tread lightly though because you may end up in a situation where leaving is the only option.

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