You know that time of year when it comes around. It’s the date that marks the anniversary of your start with the company you’re employed by. This could be a one year anniversary or it may mark a decade of loyal employment.
Whether the former or the latter or somewhere in between, there’s likely one common thing on your mind. Am I going to get a raise?
If you’re lucky enough to work for a conscious company they might remember your big day as well. You’ll receive a thank you letter or email, a small gift or — if you hit the jackpot — you might be offered a raise without ever having to ask!
Unfortunately, it’s not always this easy. The good news is, as long as you’re prepared, informed, and using good judgment, there’s often no harm in asking for the raise you think you deserve.
Show up Prepared When Asking for a Pay Raise
We all know the feeling. Gathering the courage to make a case for the compensation you desire is nerve wracking. Do your best to not worry too much about making this request. If you demonstrate your value as an employee, show up well prepared, and work in a fair and healthy environment there’s likely no harm to be done by asking for a raise.
Worst case scenario, your request for a raise is denied.
We’ll worry about that in a minute. In the meantime, let’s consider how to effectively prepare to ask for a raise.
- If you’re expecting your employer to be conscious and considerate of your needs, don’t forget to do the same for them. Do some company research before waltzing into your manager’s office and proclaiming your worth is more than your compensation. The company handbook is a good place to start. If your place of employment has a standard practice for granting raises, it should be listed here. Follow it closely.
- Dig into market research — assure it’s applicable to your region as pay varies by region for similar positions. The idea is to know the salary range that your position or similar positions garner. Getting a realistic idea of this number based on online statistics can be difficult. Try reaching out to your network and speaking with other people in the industry. (i.e., What would you expect an appropriate salary to be for x position?) Or reach out to a local recruiter — they often have access to up-to-date, reputable statistics on this information.
- Know who to ask and when the time is appropriate to approach them about a pay raise. Hint, this may not be your direct manager or supervisor. Do your research before making a case to someone who’s unable to help you.
- When you’re certain that you’re approaching the right person, assure it’s the right time as well. Don’t approach this topic with your manager while she’s in the midst of a tight deadline or when your recent performance has been subpar.
- When the time is right, ask if you, “can schedule a meeting to discuss your compensation.” Be transparent. Nobody appreciates being blindsided. If your manager hasn’t had time to prepare and consider your raise, the answer may likely be no.
With your company’s procedures, the regional market pay rate for your role, and when to approach your manager in mind you can determine if it’s appropriate to request that raise.
What to Include in Your Request When You Deserve a Raise
We’re not done with preparation quite yet. Preparation + Opportunity = Success. Now’s the time to build a case for yourself.
- Are you regularly taking on more responsibility than what was initially stated at your current pay rate in your job description? If so, be sure to list these additional responsibilities in your request.
- What have you accomplished that helped your company improve productivity, cut costs, boost staff development, or offer customer service that excelled beyond the call of duty?
- What game changing, successful projects did you play an integral part in?
- Are you working daily to reach above and beyond what’s required of your role?
- Do you have a specific rate you’d like to see your pay raised to? You don’t have to say it right out the gate, but be sure to have a number prepared. Chances are you’ll be asked what you’re expecting.
These are all premises that your boss may find fitting for a raise. Document these occurrences in a short, bulleted list. Include data and statistics if possible but do your best to keep it short and sweet.
A general rule of thumb is that if you’ve been at the same pay rate for over a year and you demonstrate quality work it’s likely acceptable to ask for a raise.
What Not to Do When Asking for a Raise
Emotional intelligence and common sense will all come into play when asking for a raise. If you’ve read this far and don’t think you’re ready to build a winning case for the raise you want, hold off for now.
Furthermore, if your company has fallen on tough times, now may not be the time to ask for a raise.
“One in three U.S. companies are lowering their projected salary increases for 2021 amid concern over weaker financial results and budgetary restraints in the wake of the pandemic, according to a new survey by leading global advisory, broking and solutions company, Willis Towers Watson.”
Above all, keep in mind that you’re asking for a raise based on the value you offer. “My rent has increased by $200 a month.” is not going to convince your employer to offer you a raise.