If there’s one thing most people can agree on, it’s that asking for a raise from your employer can be an awkward experience, not to mention stressful, too. Not everyone is born a natural negotiator, but everyone can learn how to increase their chances of achieving the raise they deserve. In this article, we’ll take a look at how to ask for a raise.
Do I Deserve a Raise?
Perhaps obvious, but asking for a raise if you don’t deserve one is a big mistake. You have to ask yourself: “Do I deserve a raise?” In our capitalistic and meritocratic business culture, it’s not that common these days to just get a raise because you have worked for a company for a certain amount of time, unless that is the specific culture and practice of your company. Typically, you are likely to deserve a raise if 1) you are providing significant value greater than your pay level to your company or 2) you are being paid less than your peers at the same company or at other companies.
Do Your Research
Don’t just wing it, do careful research to answer the question above, before diving into the raise conversation with your manager:
- Know Your Worth: Do you know how much your average position gets paid in other companies? Find out the average (the Department of Labor has statistics) and compare it to your current salary. If you’re below the current rate, remember this data for the meeting. If it’s above, you still may find a raise will meet your current worth. Your aim is to gain a sense of your market value if your company had to replace you. Remember, training new employees, especially for high-skilled positions is a business loss that many businesses seek to avoid.
- Evidence: If you have evidence of your contributions to your company, be sure to provide them to your boss. The more specific you can be in terms of the value (i.e. dollars and cents) that you have created for the company, the better. This may mean making a spreadsheet or digging through email correspondence. The more concrete and direct the evidence is of your creating value (or saving money), the more power you will have in the negotiation.
- Future Projections: While evidence of your work can determine your worth in the past, does this necessarily mean you will bring similar value to the company in the future? Is there a new production line coming online? Or a new client? Or did you just acquire a new skill? Try to paint a picture for your employer of how valuable (or invaluable!) you will be going forward. Again, be specific and do your research.
Ok, Stop! If you have done this work and you have determined that you don’t deserve a raise, don’t give up. Consider what you may be able to do to eventually deserve a raise. Advance and apply yourself to make yourself more valuable to your employer. If you feel like you have hit a dead end in your pay at this point, think about a change to a position (or to a different employer) where you can further enhance your pay.
Now, having completed your research, you now have the information and leverage you need for negotiating, but it may be for nothing if you don’t articulate your points well. For that, you must practice.
Practice Makes Perfect
Think of asking for a raise as a performance. Much of what makes a convincing theatrical performance is the practice beforehand. Let’s look into some concepts:
- Practice going over your prepared talking points with a spouse or a patient partner (even a household pet will do). The physical act itself will reduce your nerves, as the setting and tone will be familiar.
- Try to form a story arc of your pay raise as a logical development of your time with the company (based on the evidence and information you now have about appropriate pay levels).
- It may seem disloyal to your employer, but consider going on “exploratory” interviews for similar positions to your current one. Not only will you reduce your anxiety regarding the conversation with your manager, but you will also get a better sense of what you deserve (or what the current market is for your services). The additional benefit of these conversations is that you will then have another (and possibly better) option to consider. Having a backup option in your pocket may be exactly what you need to get the compensation you deserve.
Great! You have done your research and you have prepared for the conversation. Still feeling anxious? Let’s explore why.
It’s totally natural to be feeling nerves before talking to your manager about a raise. It’s like having nerves before an interview. It can sometimes help to explore why you may be feeling stressed.
Here’s a few possibilities:
- lack of experience in negotiating
- imposter syndrome
Now Get Out There!
These are all valid reasons to feel anxious, but, when it comes down to it, if you answered the “Do I deserve a raise?” question with a “Yes!” then you have every right to ask, and not asking is a disservice to you, your spouse and your family. Speaking as an employer, your boss’s day is filled with thousands of tasks and responsibilities and it would be a miracle if he or she was truly aware at every moment of what pay each of his or her employees should be making. Often times, bringing this request to your boss is a well-appreciated conversation that he or she has been meaning to address, but just hasn’t had the time. Be a “squeaky wheel” if you want to succeed!
Now, armed with a sense of your value, perhaps another backup job offer, great preparation and cool nerves, it’s time to set a time with your boss to have this important conversation. Good luck!
If you’re in-between jobs or looking for a better opportunity, Xemplar Workforce Solutions, a precision staffing and recruiting company, can help find you the job you deserve. Let us show you how we go beyond traditional staffing. Contact us today by clicking here or call us at (844) 936-7527 to get started!