How to Ask for a Raise the Right Way
You’ve convinced yourself that you deserve a raise at work. Now comes the hard part: convincing the person in control of the purse strings that your salary isn’t where it should be. Asking for more money can be an uncomfortable – even scary – proposition. In a perfect world, your boss would see how hard you work and how much you contribute to the organization and come to the conclusion, on his/her own, that you should be earning more.
However, that’s not likely to happen. After all, your boss has plenty of other things to worry about. Thinking about how much you should get paid may not be high on the list. That’s your job. It’s also your job, then, to show the boss that you do, indeed, deserve a raise. That means you shouldn’t burst into her office and make an awkward, emotional plea for a pay increase, no matter how much it may be deserved. You need to get organized. Before you make your case for why you should be earning more money, check out these tips on how to ask for a raise.
Support your cause with data
Data informs most business decisions these days – including the decision whether or not to give you a raise. So it’s not enough to just feel like you should be making more money. You need to appeal to your boss’ predilection for data by providing some hard numbers that show, objectively, how much most people in your position are actually being paid.
While your colleagues may be reticent to talk about how much they make, there are plenty of free online resources available to help you determine the pay range for your occupation. On its own, salary data showing that you are underpaid isn’t likely to get you a raise. But it does provide a solid foundation upon which to build your case.
Show that you deserve it (with examples)
Next, you should be prepared to demonstrate the value you bring to your employer. What contributions have you made? What successful projects have you completed? Have you saved the company money or increased efficiency? Simply put: How are your efforts contributing to the bottom line?
“It’s a calculation you can be sure your manager is going to be doing,” says Jason Ephraim, vice president of growth at Mailbird. “If they enjoyed more revenue as a direct result of your work, then they should see the value in providing an incentive for you. If it’s not possible to attribute your work directly to revenue, then get as close as possible.”
You should try to come up with examples of how your work directly contributed to company revenue and growth. Recent examples, and those that you know will resonate with your boss, are most effective.
Choose the right moment
Many people believe that the best moment to ask for a raise is during a performance evaluation. But this may not be the case, Kathleen McGinn, a Harvard business administration professor, tells the Harvard Business Review. Better times to request a salary bump may be right after a particularly good quarter or major success, or right before you take on new duties and responsibilities.
“If you’ve just created a whole bunch of value for your company, it’s a great time to say, ‘Can we share that value?’,” McGinn tells HBR.
Have a plan
Once you know what you should be earning – and once you can demonstrate that you deserve it – avoid rushing into your boss’ office to make an impromptu plea. Spend some time crafting a pitch, and then practice it a few times. When the time comes to make the request, having rehearsed what you’re going to say will make you sound more confident and help you maintain focus on your objective.
Remember, timing matters. Typically, you’d do well to avoid asking for a raise on a Monday. In fact, mid-morning Friday may be your best bet, psychologist Suzanne Roff-Wexler tells Forbes.
“I have no research to back this up,” she says. “But my intuitive preference when to ask for a raise would be on a Friday mid-morning. The person I would ask would probably be looking forward to a weekend (hopefully in a good mood).”
Ultimately, though, use your knowledge of your boss’ personality, schedule and workload to choose the right time to request a raise.
When presenting the actual dollar amount to which you want your salary to be increased, consider presenting a range. The Wall Street Journal points to Columbia Business School research that found so-called bolstering range offers – “where a negotiator starts with the desired price and stretches in a more ambitious direction” – were effective. For example, if you want your pay increased to $80,000 (supported by your salary research, of course), you may give a range of $80,000 to $100,000.
“These higher ranges,” according to WSJ, “frequently led to higher salaries for those making an offer.”
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