February 20, 2014
Asking for a raise? Five tips to keep in mind.
Are you beginning to feel like your paycheck doesn’t reflect your true value to the company? Is your compensation long overdue for reconsideration? Do you feel like it’s time to talk dollars and cents with your boss?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re not alone. One recent survey found that getting a raise is a top priority for more than half of all currently-employed workers, with just above 50 percent of all respondents naming a salary boost as their number-one career goal for the coming year. But, a nearly equal number also reported feeling nervous about the prospect of kicking off the money discussion.
Plan to pump up your paycheck
Let’s face it—asking for a raise can be a nerve-wracking experience. But like many things in life, investing a bit of time in planning and preparation can do a lot to ease your raise request anxiety.
According to Ron Krannich, PhD, author of "Get a Raise in 7 Days: 10 Salary Savvy Steps to Success," sketching out your salary-boosting strategy beforehand will not only help alleviate your worries and concerns about the process, it can also significantly increase the chances that your request will be successful. Use these five tips to devise a plan that will work for you.
1. Do your homework.
As soon as you begin planning to ask for a raise, start laying the groundwork with some background research. In order to make your case for more compensation, you need to know as much as possible about the salaries in your field, at competing companies, and in the region as a whole. If you can collect a persuasive set of numbers to present to your boss, you’ll be able to position a raise as bringing your compensation into line with industry standards.
2. Don't surprise your boss or ask at a bad time.
Employee salaries don’t exist in a vacuum. For example, if your company is facing a rough patch financially, it might be best to hold off for a bit before requesting a raise. If possible, make an appointment to discuss the issue with your manager in advance, so you’ll be assured of having a block of time that is free of other distractions.
3. Do make a list of your accomplishments and contributions to the company.
Take a few minutes to sit down and compile a list of all of the things you’ve achieved for the organization since your last raise. Whenever possible, try to put a monetary value or a similarly tangible label on your achievements. This will help you frame your raise as a sound investment for the company.
4. Don't get overly emotional or issue ultimatums.
Think of the raise discussion as a business proposition. You’re making the case that you are a valuable employee who will continue to contribute to the company and in whom it makes sense to invest financially. As such, it’s important to remain calm and businesslike when you’re discussing your value. By injecting an emotional tone into the meeting, you could change the dynamic—and diminish your chances of success.
5. Do consider your options and alternatives.
Before your meeting, map out several possibilities that you can follow, depending on the way things develop. If your employer isn’t willing to budge on salary, how are you going to respond? If your boss says there’s no budget for raises right now, are there any other perks you might accept as a salary substitute? By staying flexible and open-minded, you’ll help make a win-win outcome more likely.
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