Few things conjure up feelings of dread and apprehension like requesting a raise. How you approach the conversation can play a vital role in getting what you deserve. Like any negotiation, this discussion requires careful thought and consideration to influence your boss’ willingness to act upon your request. These 10 do's and don'ts will ensure you're prepared to get what you deserve.
1. Prepare and Practice
Prepare by structuring your thoughts and practicing your presentation. Outline your conversation and then practice. This will settle your nerves and help you feel better prepared. State what you want and why you deserve it. Be clear and concise in your request, remaining factual and non-emotional. Wrap up by asking your boss when you can expect an answer.
2. Clarity Is Key
When tensions run high, it’s natural for people to ramble and take too long getting to the point. Leadership will respect your request more when you are clear and concise. A simple what-I-want-and-how-I’ve-earned-it approach works best. Any boss who values your contributions will be expecting the conversation. Don't fear catching them off guard or surprising them with your request.
3. The Ownness Is on You
Your boss is likely aware of your hard work and contributions, but it’s important that you come prepared with supporting data. Business moves quickly and it’s easy for leaders to forget the details of your involvement in their success. Prepare a simple list to share your contributions and the net effect of your efforts. Incorporate this list into your conversation. Include any relevant data dating back to your last raise or promotion.
4. Exude Confidence
Be confident in your request. You’re not asking mom and dad to stay out after curfew. You’re asking your boss for the raise you’ve earned. Demonstrate confidence in your request. Maintain strong posture by sitting up straight, keeping your shoulders back and your head high. Sit on the edge of your chair with your legs and arms resting comfortably, still and uncrossed. Make eye contact while speaking. When your boss speaks, listen intently and maintain eye contact.
5. It’s Just Business
Most people approach a pay-raise conversation in an overly emotional state of mind. If your boss is unable to answer your request right then, don't take it personally. Ask for a time frame for an answer. Becoming agitated or frustrated won’t result in a win. Remain patient and let them champion your request to other decision makers. In many businesses, raises require several levels of approval. They must first consider budgets and financial impacts to the business.
6. It’s Not Personal
Your financial situation bears no weight on your boss' decision to grant your request. If you approach leadership asking for a raise because you can’t afford personal luxuries, you're sure to be rejected. How you manage your money deserves no place in the conversation. This emotional ploy is likely to backfire, leaving your boss to question your personal judgment and choices.
7. Express Loyalty
Threats never work. Most leaders in positions of power do not respond well to threats from employees willing to quit over a raise. Instead, affirm your feelings of loyalty to your department, boss and company. Reassure them that you are loyal and content in your employment. Staying positive despite the outcome will remind them of how valuable your work and contributions truly are.
8. The Dangers of Comparison
Comparing your work to others in your organization is never a wise move. Separate yourself by discussing your merits independently of your peers’. Sharing your knowledge of another person’s salary is considered unprofessional and will erode the trust that leadership has in your motives. Let your hard work and efforts speak for themselves. If you believe you’re underpaid compared to the industry average, do your homework. Understand all factors involved in pay calculations before using the data in your negotiation.
9. Resignation Compensation
Too often, employees ask for pay raises only after they have a job offer from another company. They use the offer as leverage to ask for more compensation. While it's not uncommon for other companies to recruit professional talent, how you share this with your employer is key in maintaining influence in their decision. Let your employer know another company has made an offer but that you don't intend to act upon it. Assure them of your loyalty. Ask if there will be a time when they can increase your salary to match the higher offer. Your honesty and loyalty will build credibility and respect with your managers.
10. Build Off Rejection
If your boss denies your request, politely ask why. Be mindful to take notes and commit to addressing the suggestions they make. The feedback offered may be the key to future successful pay-raise negotiations. Request a mentor, coach or accountability partner who can help you achieve the recommendations made. Providing ongoing evidence of the changes you make will help demonstrate your willingness to learn, grow and improve in your role. Your boss will respect your desire to rise to the challenge and reward you accordingly when the time comes.
Asking for a pay raise is never easy, but with the right practice, preparation and mindset, you can be on your way to earning more money, respect and influence in your organization.