Asking for a pay raise is probably one of the most nerve-racking conversations you’ve ever prepared for. Most people cringe at the thought of asking their boss for a pay raise. If you don’t work for a company that gives its employees regular annual salary increases and you’re not up for a promotion, it may be the only way to get that raise you know you deserve.
Note, it is perfectly acceptable to ask for a raise and it won’t be the first time your boss or the company has encountered such a request from an employee. Some companies have structured procedures for employee rate increases, such as annually or around the employee’s anniversary date.
The best way to ask for a raise is to do your research and know your worth, then approach your boss in a professional manner. While the process seems intimidating and uncomfortable, it doesn’t have to be.
Asking for a raise can be intimidating, but these ten tips will help you approach your boss confidently and professionally.
Know Your Employer’s Pay Practices
Start by familiarizing yourself with your employer’s pay standard practices. If their standard practice is to offer salary increases once a year after an annual review, you are unlikely to receive a raise at any other time. If your company offers more frequent increases, you’ll have more luck asking for a pay raise at any point throughout the year.
Research the Market Pay Rates for Your Job
Before you can ask for a raise, you must first know how much of a raise to request for the following reasons. Knowing the amount you will be asking for can give that confidence boost when negotiating with your supervisor or another manager. Doing your research also makes your pay increase request more realistic. If you go into a raise negotiation asking for too much, you may end up coming across as naive or even arrogant and being denied a raise at all. On the other hand, if you ask for a raise that is too little, you may find yourself settling for a salary that is less than what you deserve.
RELATED: 6 Smart Ways to Use a Pay Raise
Use Your Employee Handbook as a Guide
The handbook may present the process whereby pay raises are granted. If a policy or a process exists, your best bet when asking for a pay raise is to follow the process exactly. If the handbook states that your employer will only offer a pay raise annually, you may put in time and energy to prepare to ask for a raise that is not available.
Network With Other Employees
Network with other employees in similar jobs in similar industries to determine your salary competitiveness. Professional associations also do salary surveys and provide networking opportunities with people in similar jobs.
Document all Your Accomplishments
Create a list of the goals you have accomplished for the company. Determine how their accomplishment has helped the company. Document costs savings, productivity improvement, superior staff development, important projects achieved, above-the-call customer service, and ways in which you have contributed more than your job required. Documenting these accomplishments may justify a pay increase.
Know Your Numbers
Set a pay increase goal, in your mind, that appears to reward the contributions and additional responsibilities you have documented. Use all of your earlier research to make sure that you are asking for a pay raise that is reasonable for your job and performance and justly deserved.
Get on the Manager’s Calendar
Arrange a meeting with your immediate manager or supervisor to discuss your compensation. Avoid blindsiding your manager or supervisor. Additionally, if the manager is unprepared to discuss an increase with you, nothing will happen at the meeting. Give your boss enough time to do their own research.
Consider What You’ll Bring to the Team
You’re asking for this raise because you’ve demonstrated that you’ll go above and beyond in your current role, but your boss also wants to hear that you’re in it for the long haul. How do you plan to continue growing within the company if you do get this raise? Spend some time thinking about where you want your career to go.
Negotiate Other Benefits
If you don’t get the salary raise you wanted, you should also consider negotiating benefits and other perks in place of salary. For example, flexible work hours or stock options could also be something to consider instead of a raise.
Avoid Doing These Things When Asking for a Raise
So you have done your homework and now have the confidence to have the pay increase discussion, it is important to remain humble. You want to share impressive numbers, but make sure they’re accurate. You want to boast about your work, but make sure not to take credit from others. Timing is another important factor, so make sure that you’re paying attention to what is happening across the entire organization before scheduling your meeting.
Here are a few more not to-dos when asking for a raise.
- Don’t Focus on Personal Reasons When Asking for a Raise: Remember when we said expensive rent is not a good reason to ask for a raise? Still true. And you may feel burned out and underpaid, but you’re going to need to let this go to have a useful conversation.
- Don’t Ask for a Raise at a Terrible Time: Did your company just go through layoffs? Were massive budget cuts just announced for your department? Are you on a hiring freeze? Did your boss just lose a huge client? Even if it means waiting a month or two, you’ll be glad you did.
- Don’t Sell Yourself Short When Asking for a Raise: This is not the time to be modest. Practice talking about what you want without qualifiers. Try to say goodbye to imposter syndrome before your ask.
- After You Ask for a Raise: Stop talking. That’s right make your ask and then stop talking. When we get nervous we tend to go on and on, but we want you to look confident and secure in your ask.
Not every negotiation will get resolved quickly and some negotiations may even end in a no. Don’t be discouraged, if you’re interested in staying at the company, it may just take a little longer to get that raise at work. Agree on specific milestones so you’re not guessing when you’ll pick up the conversation again. If your boss is avoiding answers, you might want to consider looking for a new job where you’ll be valued.