How to Ask for a Raise

Asking for a raise can be a difficult thing. How do you approach your manager? What are you worth? What is your job worth? What will be the reaction?

Generally speaking, your manager won’t fire you for asking for a raise, so any fears there can be suppressed! Become familiar with your company’s HR policies – if raises only occur once per year, you might not be able to receive a raise except during that period of time. I have worked at several companies that have this “policy” – but they allowed managers some discretion to give raises out of cycle if there was a business need.

There are several things you can do help make your request a success:

1. Your Accomplishments

Create a list of your accomplishments in your job. It is important to determine how these accomplishments have affected the company. What revenue improvements have been made? Are there documented cost savings? Have your accomplishments caused productivity increases?

You should also document events such as superior customer service, staff development, and education. These accomplishments may all contribute to you deserving a pay increase.

Document any additional responsibilities you have added in your position. Did an employee leave without being replaced and you took up the slack? Did the company start a new product line or venture which you took responsibility for? Additional responsibility may also result in additional salary.

2. What is your position worth?

Do some research on websites such as Salary.com to determine your position’s market range. You can also find out how your position is doing in the market by looking for the number of ads on popular employment websites. Most large companies try to stay within “market price” for job positions to stay competitive. If you current role is underpaid, you may receive a raise to bring you up to the prevailing market wage.

3. Set your goal.

Set your target raise percentage. You should keep in mind the things you documented in step 1 and any additional responsibilities you will be willing to take on if you receive the raise.

When you set your target raise amount, shoot for the stars, if you fall short, you will still land on the moon. For example, if you are looking for 5%, ask for 7%. This provides some negotiation room and who knows – you might get what you ask for!

4. Schedule your meeting.

Schedule a meeting with your manager and present your case. Show him/her what you have accomplished for the company and tell them what you plan on accomplishing.  Keep in mind that though you have documented your accomplishments – your company management team often expects those things of you and may believe this is part of your day to day job and shouldn’t require any extra compensation. Always have a plan for what your goals are over the next year. Managers like employees who show initiative and have a tendency to promote those employees or give them additional projects.

Be direct and ask your manager for a salary increase. Explain to your manager that with the accomplishments you have already made and plan on doing, you believe you deserve this salary increase. Be firm, yet polite.

Also be flexible – if your boss offers you additional time off in lieu of a raise, will you take it? How about stock options? A promotion? You should be prepared for any other type of offer and a response. In the long run, it might be smarter to take alternative compensation than a raise.

5. Be prepared for ‘no’.

What are you going to do if you come out of the meeting with a ‘no’? Do you plan on staying with the company? You should be prepared to make a decision if you do not receive the increase.

Ask your manager what you need to do to receive an increase. Is there a promotion track you could be in? What other things can you add to your goals? What more would she like to see out of you?

Remember to stay positive during the meeting. Good luck!

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