When I was contemplating asking my boss for my first ever salary rise in work, I thought to myself “If only they taught us how to negotiate in school. I may be an expert on v-shaped valley formation and stalagmites, but ask me how to get a raise? I hadn’t a clue!”
The more I thought about asking for a raise, the more doubt that crept into my mind.
“I can’t negotiate”
“What if I get rejected?”
“Maybe if I just work harder, my boss will notice how wonderful I am and throw an extra few bob my way!!”
Let’s face it, there is always going to be fear with a lack of experience. However, with some structured guidelines, you can overcome those fears to finally get what you feel you deserve – more money!
To make this guide as easy as possible to take action on, I have broken it into 3 simple steps.
• Do your research
• Build your case
• Popping the question
Step 1: Do Your Research
With the bulk of my knowledge on negotiation coming directly from Hollywood, my first instinct was to shoot first and ask questions later. “Give me more money now, or the kid gets it!” The sad reality was that the latest Martin Scorsese movie would not help me asking for a raise, what would help is researching everything I could on my current role.
Know your worth
Get googling and research the market pay rates for your current position. Compare these rates to what you are actually earning now and learn your worth. If you’re currently being paid below the market average, this will lay the foundation for your case on getting a raise.
A good resource to discover the local market salary average in your field is www.payscale.com. If you find that your salary is on par with similar positions within the industry you may need to look at going for a promotion to gain a larger pay packet.
Keeping up with the Joneses
It’s very important to know your company’s policies when it comes to getting a raise. Speak to someone in HR to learn the salary raise processes from your employer. It may be the case that your salary is determined by annual performance. Don’t forget to read the company handbook as it may contain guidance on how pay raises are granted.
Step 2: Build Your Case
The fact that the price of a pint will increase by as much as 20 cent this year is just not a strong enough argument to grant a significant salary raise - although I have an army of uncles who would strongly disagree.
Your employer is only interested in one thing – your performance. Trying to play on your employer’s heart strings is exactly how not to get a raise. So let’s hit them with the cold hard facts that highlight the positive impact you have made within your role.
Showcase your added value
Build your case around these 2 points:
- You have taken on more responsibilities since starting/since your previous salary raise
- You have made significant contributions that have benefitted your employer
A Jack of all trades
If you are 6 months or more into a job, most likely your role and responsibilities have evolved. Make sure to make a list of any additional responsibilities you have added to your current role since you started or since your previous salary raise.
Do research on more senior roles in your field and if you find that you’re completing tasks comparable to someone above your pay grade, it will help justify to your employer why you deserve a salary increase.
If you are weighing in on special projects or supervising your fellow employees, again it will all provide a great argument for why you deserve more money.
People believe what they see, not what they hear – so showcase your God damn value! It should go a little something like this; “When I started off at this company X months ago, these were my responsibilities.” – Proceed to pull out a single piece of paper detailing all of your responsibilities, along with any additional activities you are currently completing (Highlight them). “The green highlighted areas are the additional activities I have taken on in my current role since I have started here.”
Get into the habit of sending weekly/monthly reports to your employer which demonstrates what objectives you have accomplished or you are working towards, and ensure they are provided in measurable terms. This activity will provide the blueprint on why you deserve a salary raise. To get started you can download a weekly report template here.
Now that you can comfortably demonstrate all the additional responsibilities your role entails, it’s time to get specific about what you have accomplished and how it has benefited your employer. This may include cost savings, increased sales, process improvements you have implemented, successful projects completed or targets you have exceeded.
To strengthen your case you must get into the nitty-gritty – include any statistics or measurable data that can showcase the value you have brought to your employer.
Step 3: Popping The Question
It’s time to get down to brass taxes and ask for your salary raise. At this stage, you know your market value and are confident that your performance warrants an increase in salary. Before sitting down with your employer to negotiate, consider all of the following points:
Committed to the cause
Before popping the question you must display your commitment to your current employer. Inform your manager that you are really enjoying your work at present and then detail what your plan is for the future and how it will contribute to the success of the company. This is a two-way street. By granting you a raise, your employer must make a future investment in you, so it’s important to highlight you are both on the same page.
Know how much you want and go for it!
Have an exact figure and tell your manager specifically how much you would like to increase your salary by. Inform your employer that you are asking for a raise because of the additional responsibilities you have taken on and the contributions you have made to the company. Once your employer acknowledges that your role has expanded and your value has increased, hit them with them following: “I would like to discuss a compensation adjustment based on the roles, responsibilities & contributions I have taken on in my role over the past X months. I have reviewed the marketplace and this is the % increase that I think is appropriate.”
Strike When The Iron Is Hot!
Timing your request for a salary raise will be important. If the value of your employer has increased or the company has recently enjoyed excellent success by landing new business or growing their client base, it’s time to seize the moment and request a raise while the good times are rolling.
So what happens if they say no? Hearing a rejection for your salary raise request just opens the door for another opportunity, so do not be discouraged by any means.
Simply ask the question “What would it take to get a salary raise in my current position?” Ensure that you receive clearly defined objectives in relation to the salary increase requested. Use this information and set out a roadmap to not only reach but exceed the set objectives in order to become a top performer and meet the requirements of getting a salary raise. Once you have asked the question, complete 3 simple steps:
- Take action
- Circle back
By completing these steps it will put you forward for a salary raise much sooner and will also prove to your employer how serious you are taking your current role.
If all else fails, you can always leave. Sometimes the best way to get a significant pay increase is to move to another company.
Just remember, if you don’t ask, you don’t get. At first you will feel uncomfortable about asking for more money, this is completely normal.
With the right preparation and planning, you will build your confidence and achieve your maximum income potential. If you don’t start to get serious about your money, you will never have serious money. Best of luck!
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