Learning to advocate for fair compensation is an essential skill for your career growth and financial well-being. While asking for a raise can be a challenging discussion topic, with the right approach it can lead to a successful outcome. And it’s a vital step in ensuring that your hard work and contributions are appropriately recognized. If the thought of asking for a raise makes you nervous, read along! The following guide will help you navigate the process with a little more confidence.
Choose the Right Time
Timing is key. When you ask for a raise, there are situational factors to consider that can impact the conversation’s outcome.
- Is the company doing well? If your company is going through a slow period or struggling to keep up with the market, asking for a raise might not be a good idea, even if you deserve it. The company is most likely not in a position to approve raises.
- Are we in the middle of an economic crisis? Similarly, if the company foresees an economic downturn impacting them in the near future, they’ll be much less willing to give you a raise. There are personal factors to consider as well.
- Has it been more than a year since you got a raise? It is entirely appropriate to ask for a raise if you haven’t received one in a year or more. In fact, it’s a common practice for employees to request salary reviews on an annual basis, especially if their job responsibilities have expanded, if they’ve achieved significant milestones, or the cost of living has increased.
- Have you had a good or lackluster performance review recently? If you just had a negative review, it’s generally not the most opportune time to ask for a raise. You might want to consider waiting until after you’ve addressed the concerns from the negative review and improved your performance. If you just had a positive review, however, the company likely values you. So, this would be a great time to ask for a raise!
- Have you achieved any significant milestones? If you just successfully completed a major project, met targets, or achieved a significant milestone for your department or the company as a whole, the company is likely to value you more, making this is an opportune time to ask for a raise. If you determine that the time is right, then perform some research and prepare for a meeting.
Do Some Research
- Determine Salary Trends Research industry salary standards, seeking to understand the average salary range for your position in your geographic location. You can ask friends or look at data on sites such as Glassdoor. If your company has an open position similar to yours, see if the posted job description includes any information on target salary.
- Examine Your Qualifications Sometimes, we might already be within the typical salary range for our position as compared to the industry. In those cases, it might be important to highlight how you provide value to the company beyond what’s already expected from someone in your position. For example, can you take on additional responsibilities? Maybe you can help train new hires. Or, you can help find new clients.
Prepare Your Pitch
- Write a Draft While we don’t recommend reading your pitch to your boss, it’s a good idea to write down a draft to help you clarify your ideas and make sure you touch on all the key points you want to cover. We recommend the following:
- Begin your speech by clearly stating the purpose of the meeting.
- Then, express gratitude for the opportunity to discuss your compensation.
- State your commitment to the company.
- Document your accomplishments and contributions. Make a list of your achievements, contributions, and any additional responsibilities you’ve taken on since your last salary review. Whenever possible, attach measurable results to your accomplishments to demonstrate your value to the company.
- Highlight any projects or goals you’re excited about.
- Be Succinct
There might be a lot you want to say, but it’s best to be short and direct while remaining respectful. Clearly and concisely articulate your case, emphasizing your achievements and how they’ve positively impacted the company.
- Be Ready for Questions and Objections Common objections that employers might have when it comes to salary increases include budget constraints, market conditions, or company policies. Clearly stating your accomplishments, contributions, and any additional responsibilities you’ve taken on since your last raise is the best strategy to counter objections. If you’ve done market research and found that your current salary is below industry standards, use this data to support your request. Be ready to explain how this information is relevant to your situation.
Practice Your Pitch
It may feel uncomfortable, but rehearse your talking points to ensure you’re confident during the meeting. Rehearsing will also help you calm your nerves. Be ready to discuss how you plan to continue delivering exceptional performance and contributing to the organization in the future.
During the Meeting
During the actual meeting, maintain a calm and professional demeanor. Listen actively to your employer’s objections or questions, and respond thoughtfully without becoming defensive.
- Be Confident and Respectful Remember that you’re advocating for your worth and contributions to the organization, so you can be confident. However, be careful with your tone. You want to show you care about the company and that you’re thankful for the opportunity to discuss the possibility of a raise.
- Maintain Eye Contact Maintaining eye contact is a crucial aspect of effective communication, especially during a raise request or any similar professional conversation. Eye contact helps build trust and rapport. It creates a connection and makes the conversation more personal. And it makes you appear more trustworthy and believable, which is crucial when discussing sensitive topics like salary.
- While maintaining eye contact is essential, it’s also important not to overdo it, as excessive staring can make the other person uncomfortable
- Make eye contact to show that you’re actively listening to the other person. Nodding occasionally and using facial expressions to convey understanding can further reinforce your engagement.
- It’s acceptable to briefly break eye contact when you’re gathering your thoughts or referring to notes.
- Dress Appropriately While the content of your conversation and the merits of your performance are the most critical factors, your overall presentation, including your attire and demeanor, can influence how your message is received. Dressing professionally demonstrates that you take the meeting seriously and that you respect the formal nature of the conversation. It also reflects your commitment to the workplace.
- Convey Active Body Language Just as you would in a job interview, be mindful of your posture. Sit up straight, lean in, and use your hands to emphasize your points. Make it clear that you are fully present and committed to the discussion.
- Listen Actively Active listening is a critical skill while asking for a raise or holding any important conversation. It not only helps you gather information but also demonstrates respect for the other person’s perspective. This understanding is crucial for addressing their feedback effectively. It can also help build rapport and create a positive atmosphere for the conversation.
- Periodically reflect back what the other person has said to ensure you’ve understood correctly.
- Paraphrase their points to demonstrate that you’re actively engaged in the conversation.
- Encourage the other person to share more by asking open-ended questions that require more than a simple “yes” or “no” response.
- Be Ready to Negotiate Understand that the conversation may involve negotiation. Be prepared to discuss potential compromises or phased salary increases if your employer is unable to meet your initial request. Come to the meeting with a clear BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement) so you know what you’re willing to accept and what your fallback plan would be. Finally, be mindful of your emotional reactions and manage them appropriately.
After the Meeting
There are several scenarios to consider after the meeting.
Be Open to Alternatives If negotiations are necessary, be prepared to continue the conversation and compromise. That is, be open to alternative solutions if your employer can’t meet your requested salary increase. This might include additional benefits, bonuses, or professional development opportunities. Show that you’re willing to work with your employer to find a mutually beneficial solution. Express your commitment to the company and your desire to continue contributing to its success.
Prepare For a Positive Outcome If your request is accepted, discuss the next steps regarding the salary adjustment and any additional expectations. Continue to invest in skill development and seek mentorship to enhance your value to the organization. Regularly assess your career goals and plan for future advancement.
Consider Rejection If your request is denied, handle it with professionalism. Consider discussing a timeline for a future salary review.
- Thank Your Boss Thank your manager for their time and consideration. Especially under this circumstance, be careful of your emotional reactions. If you notice you’re getting angry or about to cry, breathe deeply. Don’t let your mind fly and make up stories that explain the rejection. Maybe you didn’t know the company was going through a tough phase. Or, maybe you need to spend some time improving your skills and showing your value to the company. If you feel like you must, politely thank your supervisor for their time and excuse yourself before letting your emotions get the best of you.
- Ask for Feedback Politely ask for feedback on areas where you can improve and what you can work on to increase your chances of a raise in the future. After the meeting, send a follow-up email.
Thank Your Boss Again Express gratitude once again. Reiterate your commitment and enthusiasm for the company and your role.
Advocating for fair compensation is a crucial step in building a rewarding career. This guide can help equip you with the knowledge and confidence to approach salary negotiations successfully. Take action, prepare your case, and ensure your contributions are duly recognized and rewarded in your professional journey.