August 9, 2017
August 9, 2017
One of the toughest things for any employee to do, even for those who are top performers, is to ask your employer to give you a raise. The nerve-racking X factor is the possibility that your employer will decline your request. If you feel that you truly deserve a raise, that outcome can leave you with a negative view of your job going forward.
If you would like to get a raise, but you’re unsure how it will play out, you need to have a strategy that will increase the chances that the raise will be approved. Use the following seven ways to convince your employer to give you the raise.
This is a tough consideration for most people. That’s because most of us believe that we inherently deserve a raise. But you have to be at least somewhat objective on this point.
Consider your job performance compared to that of your coworkers. Are you the “go to” person the office, or more likely one of the people who make extensive use of the go-to person? Are you punctual – do you show up for work every day and on time? Or do you play fast and loose with the timeclock? Do you put in extra time and effort during busy times on the job? Or do you try to stick to a strict 9-to-5 schedule, and mostly tend to your regular work?
Do a critical self-evaluation here. If you are one of the higher performers in the office or company, you may very well deserve a raise. But if you are in the going-along-to-get-along crowd, you may have a weak case. Not to worry however, as that too can be remedied.
Before deciding on how much of a raise you plan to request, you first need to know what your market value is. That’s determined by comparing your current compensation level to the pay scales that are available at a large number of employers in your field.
Fortunately, with the Internet, this is easy enough to accomplish. If you want to do a deep study, you can always check out the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) website. They not only provide salary levels based on hundreds of different career fields, but also the specific levels in different states and cities. And it does vary from one region to another, sometimes significantly.
An easier way to determine your pay level is to go to one of the popular websites, like PayScale.com. Employers even use such websites to determine salary levels, so you’ll be in good company using these resources.
If you find that you are below the average compensation level in your field and in your area, it will be easier to ask for a raise. But if you are at the top of the range, the only way to justify a significant increase is if you are an exceptional performer.
If you believe that you deserve a raise, it’s sometimes better to delay requesting it. That can give you time to build up a repertoire of accomplishments that can impress your value upon management.
View this as an opportunity if you feel that you are lacking in this area. It can mean stepping up during busy times or taking on additional responsibilities, particularly difficult tasks that no one else wants to do.
You may only have to do this for a few months. Since the effort will be very recent, it will provide an excellent reference point to demonstrate your value to the employer.
Sometimes higher compensation is withheld because you lack certain important training. If that seems to be the case, take the initiative to get the necessary training. If the employer will pay for the training, all the better. But be prepared to pay for it yourself, as this is becoming increasingly common in employment situations.
It may even be possible for you to get the training free of charge. There are some good training resources available on sites like YouTube for just about any career field that you can think of. Sometimes just learning the basics of a particular skill is all that’s needed to lift you up to the next level.
No matter how well you think you are doing your job it is entirely possible that your employer is not completely aware of it. That’s because a single boss may have to manage a large number of people, and doesn’t necessarily pay attention to individual particulars.
Create a folder and begin filling it with written documentation of your accomplishments. This can include certificates, evidence of completion of training, letters, and emails commending your performance, or even loose notes that explain your contributions in some detail. Be especially open to including documentation that you fixed a major problem, or brought in an important new client. This is also where you should include salary documentation from third party sources if it supports your request for higher pay.
The idea is to create an informal resume that you can draw on if your employer is hesitant to give you a raise. If the employer is unaware of specific important contributions, your documentation can save the day.
We should start this section with what you should not do. And that is never go over your boss’s head when asking for a raise. Your boss may be your best and only ally in your quest for higher pay. Should you leave him or her out of the process, you could be inadvertently highlighting the fact that your boss is part of the reason why you don’t have higher pay.
Instead, run all of your documentation and concerns by your boss first. If you’re working for a large organization, a salary increase will have to go up the chain of command, and that may require the approval of several people in management. Your chance of getting through that bureaucratic chain greatly improves if your boss is in your corner.
The flipside is that if your boss is not in your corner, upper management may take it as a sign of his or her lack of approval. And since your boss is your immediate superior, that opinion will carry much greater weight.
Let’s say that you want a 10% increase in pay. Maybe your employer is not prepared to make that kind of increase. But if that’s the case, you should be prepared to get as close to that number as possible through a variety of means.
One popular negotiating tactic is to have the increase spread out over a greater length of time. For example, you may be able to negotiate an immediate 5% increase, with another 5% in six months or one year. That agreement may even include a requirement that you achieve a certain higher performance level. If you are prepared to negotiate this type of agreement, it can indicate your dedication to the job and your commitment to the employer.
Still another negotiating method is using non-financial compensation. For example, instead of higher pay, you might negotiate for more paid time off, flex time, or even a shorter work week. You might even be able to negotiate a major shift in work style, such as partial or full home basing. None of these perks may increase your salary, but they might make your job more enjoyable and open up other opportunities for you in the future.
It may also offer your employer an opportunity to make you happy without having to increase their payroll expense. They may appreciate that and reward you with a generous package.
Asking for raises one of those things that doesn’t come naturally to most people. But by preparing in advance, and being ready to negotiate, you can make it a much more comfortable arrangement. You owe it to yourself.