asking for a raise doesn’t have to be terrifying

Let’s say believe you deserve a raise. You’re feeling confident. The report you spent months researching and finessing is finally complete and has been well received across the organization. You’re pretty sure your findings will positively impact the organization. You’re a hard worker and a committed, engaged employee who consistently over delivers. So why are you having so much trouble asking for a raise? Why should you even have to?

tips for asking for a raise

think you deserve a raise? ask for one.

Automatic yearly raises are a thing of the past in many organizations. Now you have to ask for what you want. It’s a good time to do so. Economies worldwide are rebounding and with them, stagnant salaries are beginning to move upward – glacially, perhaps, but in the right direction. Competition within growing industries is helping to identify employees with particular skills and increasing their demand. Some industries on the rise include: finance, technology, and health sciences (particularly specialties in geriatrics.)

how do you know when to ask for a raise?

When you ask for a raise is as important as what you ask for. Be sensitive to when your company usually increases salaries. Is it at the end of the fiscal year? Tied to your evaluation? You may be entitled to an increase but your manager’s hands are tied if your raise has to be included in the operating budget for next year. Forbes says that asking for a raise at your review is probably too late. Instead, start making your case for a raise a few months before your review – and ahead of your co-workers - so that it can be included in your department budget.

when asking for a raise, you should...

The other important consideration is how you ask. Keep these things in mind when asking for a raise, and you’re more likely to get it!

1. know your audience

You know how your manager or boss operates and how he or she likes to be approached. Respect that. Now’s not the time to set teeth on edge or be overly aggressive. Be straightforward and use simple language and short phrases. Most of us are nervous when asking for a raise and talk too much because pauses make us anxious. 

2. prepare a case for why you deserve a raise

Keep an ongoing log of your work projects, new tasks, new skills you’ve gained, and comments and praise you’ve garnered. This readily available information will help you prepare ahead of time for your ask. (It’ll also make updating your resume faster and more accurate.)

Cite examples of new responsibilities you’ve taken on through the year and how your efforts have brought real value to a project and the team. Talk about how your accomplishments contribute to the success of the organization as a whole. Refer to new skills you’ve gained and how you’ve applied them to your role.

3. know what your skills are worth

Manage your expectations for how much of a raise you think you deserve by doing some research. Find out if your company raise is annual and what the average increase is. If your company doesn’t have an annual salary increase, research your industry and role within it. Consider your skill set and experience. If possible, talk to people in your industry who do the same kind of work as you. Not sure what a fair salary is in your role? Randstad’s salary guides are a great resource to give you a ballpark figure to work with.

4. be flexible and willing to negotiate

While it’s important to go into the meeting with a figure or range in mind, it might be advisable to put the ball in your manager’s court as their offer may be higher than what you have in mind. If that’s not the case, tell your boss what you’re looking for and be willing to meet somewhere in the middle.

5. consider all the factors

Sure, you may deserve a raise, but it may not necessarily be in the cards in your current role if there are other factors at play. Consider the size of your organization, its location and any other extenuating circumstances. You’re more likely to get a higher increase in a city like Toronto or Vancouver than in a smaller, more rural setting because employers are conscious of cost of living requirements if they themselves are influenced by them. 

6. remember not all compensation is financial

If your boss is unwilling or unable to raise your salary, consider other methods of compensation. Is it possible you could work from home one day a week? Will they pay for training to help you reach the next level? Could they improve your benefits package? Give you an extra week of vacation each year? A little creativity goes a long way to making a highly performing employee feel valuable. Think about what would make a meaningful difference.

If, after everything, there’s no compensation improvement coming your way, don’t threaten to quit, even if it’s on the tip of your tongue. This isn’t the meeting to do so and that’s not a position you want to find yourself without careful thought and ample consideration of your options. Instead, ask what you can do to make sure you’re in position for a salary increase in the future. That’s something your boss can, and should, be able to tell you. You’ll come across as responsible and mature. You’re also letting your boss know subtly that the conversation isn’t over.

These suggestions will help you enjoy the ‘treats’ you’ve earned and help you master the ‘tricks.'

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