Tips to Ask for a Raise

September 30, 2019

It is important that you are aware of your realistic value so that you know where you stand, with a solid foundation.

steps on improving salary

Money talk… we all know how uncomfortable it can be. Money is, without doubt, a taboo across many cultures and most of us tip-toe around the subject. In fact, studies show that a common reason for avoiding asking for a salary review is how uneasy it makes us feel. However, we all agree it is nevertheless a very important point to discuss as it impacts our job satisfaction and our lives.

Asking for a salary increase is sometimes essential. So the question is how? Two keywords to keep in mind are timing and preparation.

Tip #1 Time Your Request

As with everything in life, timing is essential. You don't go asking if anyone has seen your contact lenses in the middle of an accident scene with a burning car. Common sense suggests that, if all is not going well, maybe it is not the best time to voice your concerns. Wait until things improve.

In this sense, a good idea might actually be to try to get to know your company's financial plans and trajectory. Being aware of this information can better align the work you do and what you contribute to bottom line results. Moreover, it shows interest and involvement from your part, which is always a plus!

Annual Performance Reviews are naturally a good and appropriate moment to bring up the salary question. As a matter of fact, the topic is expected during this process. So, prepare for it with practical and concrete information that proves how you have earned the raise you might be asking for.

Last, if you have consistently been delivering high-quality results and have just hit some important milestones or significant accomplishments, then this is an excellent time to come forward and speak up. Capitalise on successes and their timing. Momentum is everything.

Tip #2 Do Your Homework

And by homework we mean, do your research and understand things like the salary bands according to your position. Good sources of information are the internet and (guess what?) people! Yes, you would be surprised how co-workers, acquaintances or even former colleagues or mentors can be of great help in this process.

It is important that you are aware of your realistic value so that you know where you stand, with a solid foundation.

Tip #3 Prepare

Ok, time to roll up your sleeves. Sit with yourself and put down on paper the concrete reasons why you deserve a salary review. Try to be as specific as possible. Make a list of your accomplishments detailing the strategies utilised and their impact on the department or company performance. That last link is important. If possible, throw in some numbers or positive feedback reviews from customers, peers or managers (facts speak more than opinions!). If you took on extra responsibilities or other projects, do mention that as well.

Now, a clever thing to do is also to outline and demonstrate how you plan on further developing your performance, to impact the company positively. Interest and engagement are what everyone wants to see and showing you recognise that your willing to go further counts for a lot.

Tip #4 Prepare… Again!

Having a Plan B (or C or D…) is smarter than being overly optimistic and trusting that plan A will succeed. Having other options in line will make you more flexible and likely to get a part of what you’re aiming for.

Maybe you can consider other benefits such as working remotely, better training or a laptop upgrade. Something is usually better than nothing and allows you room to negotiate.

Tip #5 Keep It Pro

We know that you want that salary increase right now! However, stay focused on showing "why you deserve it". Keep your cool and, once again, if you have prepared appropriately, then you will have done your job. The rest is up to the decision-makers, which leads us to our next point.

The Aftermath

Being honest, it’s incredibly likely that you don’t get an answer right away. Most companies need some time to reach a consensual decision. What to do? Wait patiently and cross your fingers!

Getting a "no" is also possible. Try to remain objective. The reasons may vary, but most of the time budget restrictions are the cause behind the rejection of your request. We know it is a big bummer but remain positive and try to understand when the topic can be discussed again and what steps should you take to achieve the raise you asked for. Be clear about any follow up reviews.

Regardless of whether you get a yes or no, the first person to value your work and stand up for it has to be you! Deliver great work and push it out there.

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