You work hard. You pitch in, contributing to your company’s bottom line, giving it your best, all day, every day. No one should expect to get paid more just for showing up, but you’ve been performing well, things are running smoothly, and by golly, you deserve a pay rise. It’s time to ask for one. Hold on a second, however. Asking for a salary increase is probably justified, but that doesn’t mean you’ll automatically get one.
Pay rates and salaries can be difficult for bosses and managers to discuss, especially during uncertain economic times or during very busy seasons. What steps can you take before requesting a bigger number on your paycheck to improve your chances of getting what you ask for?
Here are ten proven strategies to use when requesting a pay rise:
1. Know Where You Stand
Google your industry and job title to see what others in your field are earning as a baseline, fair market comparison. Take your location, your experience, and your industry into consideration. If your salary is on par with the norm, you’d best keep your request modest. If you’re falling behind on the salary scale, it may be a good time request a rise in pay.
2: Consider Your Assets
Everyone has skills. Review yours before making a request. Don’t limit the list to your job title. Include everything that contributes to your overall performance. Special skills that you bring to the job make you more valuable than your title suggests. Completing a free skills review can help highlight your skills and determine your eligibility for Recognition of Prior Learning, supporting your request with skills recognition from things learned in the classroom, on the job, or in everyday life, and earning you a pay bump.
3: Before the Performance Review
Make your request as early as three to four months in advance of scheduled performance reviews. Bosses are generally not receptive to surprise requests, and raises are frequently decided well before the review. Calling attention to your performance prior to budgeting and salary decisions will improve your results.
4: Be Aware of Timing
It’s much easier to grant a pay rise during favorable economic times, especially if you’ve been meeting or exceeding expectations. If the company is in the midst of a big change, or your boss is extremely busy, it may be smart to wait for a more settled time to make your request.
5: Be Realistic
Doubling your salary sounds wonderful. For most employees, however, that’s not realistic. Unless you are engaged in an industry like financial services or computer software, the average increase for most sectors remains between three and four percent per year.
6: Prepare to Negotiate
Getting to yes may take a bit of back and forth discussion. Decide ahead of time what the range of an acceptable increase would be, and how you will respond to offers that fall short.
7: Have A Backup Plan
If the answer to your request is no, remember that it may have nothing to do with performance and everything to do with budgets. When there is simply no possibility of initiating a pay increase, bring up the option of taking extra days off, receiving increased training, or getting perks like parking or health club benefits as possible alternatives.
8: Use Your Most Durable Smile
Even when things don’t go your way, make sure to smile. Thank your boss for listening, and use your most diplomatic voice as you close the discussion. Aggressive or whiny behavior will not change the decision, and may adversely influence future requests.
9: Improve Your Future Chances
When a request for a pay increase must be refused, it can be helpful to ask for guidance. Ask for suggestions and hard performance targets that might change the answer on future requests.
10: Convince Yourself
After making an honest critique of your efforts, you should be armed with the right tools to believe in yourself, convincing the most important person in the room that you deserve a pay rise. Now, you’re really ready. Let’s go!