Asking your manager for a raise can be nerve-wracking, so much so, that some people wait for months or even years before asking for a raise they deserve.
The truth is, there’s nothing wrong with asking for a raise that reflects the hard work that you do, but there are some approaches and best practices that will always get better results than others.
How to Prepare
You should never ask for a raise without preparing for this conversation. No matter how good your relationship is with your manager, they will be expecting you to prove that you deserve the salary you’re asking for and won’t respond favorably if it seems like you did not prepare.
Before broaching the subject of a raise, always:
Build your Case: Look back to recent projects and periods of time where you went beyond what was expected and provided real value for your company. Always use specific performance data when possible.
Know your Worth: You should have a clear idea of the raise you should be asking for, by finding an objective figure to compare your current salary against.
When to Ask for a Raise
Picking the right time to ask for a raise is just as important for preparing for this discussion.
When picking a good time to ask for a raise, find out when your company’s fiscal budget planning takes place so you can be sure that you aren’t asking for the impossible.
A few great times to ask for a raise are:
Annual Performance Reviews: A natural time for this conversation may be at your annual performance review, when the topic of salary is not only timely, but often expected.
After Completing an Important Project: A great time to ask for a raise is after successfully completing an important project or showing excellent work.
When your Manager is Happy: Asking for a raise during of a stressful or hectic period will guarantee that your manager is short on time and patience. Wait to ask for a raise until the dust has settled and you have, once again, proven your worth.
What to Say to Get a Raise
After preparing your evidence for why you deserve a raise and choosing a good time to talk to your manager, it’s important to think about what you’re going to say during your raise conversation.
You don’t need to have a strict script, but you do need to be clear and specific in your delivery and it helps to have a few phrases up your sleeve to help guide the conversation.
An easy way to begin a raise discussion is to say something like: “As I’m looking forward to working and growing with the company, I’d love to discuss my salary.” Or “I’m interested in discussing my salary, is now an appropriate time?”
Mention your desired salary number and specifically outline how you came to this conclusion. Also, be clear about when you’d like your new desired salary to be effective, and any other details that are pertinent to your desired compensation.
How to Act
The way you act during a raise conversation is just as important as the tone of voice you use, so be sure that you balance confidence, graciousness and enthusiasm for the work you do.
How is an employer going to feel comfortable giving you a raise if you’re unsure yourself?
Expressing gratitude and appreciation for what you currently have at the company is a gracious and professional preface to an ask for more money.
Sharing excitement for your future goals, and for the future goals of the company, is a way to show you’re invested in doing your job well.
How to Justify Your Raise
Justifying your desired salary will be accomplished with specific examples of work done well.
- Use specific, recent accomplishments and the value you’ve brought to the company as reasons for why you deserve the salary you’re proposing.
- Quantify your value with data and awards/accolades so you can demonstrate more tangibly how you’ve contributed to your company’s bottom line.
- Present the points for your justification for a raise in a logical, compelling way.
- Respond to questions from your manager about your raise logically and tactfully to further justify your request.
What to Expect
If you have chosen an appropriate time to ask for a raise and have built your case for a raise with specific evidence of your great work, you should expect your manager to give your proposal serious consideration.
You should also expect:
Questions: Expect some direct questions about the accomplishments you’re using to justify your raise, your plans for your future at the company, as well as the classic, “Why do you think you deserve this raise?”
Negotiation: You will probably have to negotiate on the specifics of the raise you are asking for.
Compromise: You may not be able to get the raise you want today, but a compromise will help you take a step in the right direction. Make sure that any promised or conditional future raises you discuss are documented in writing.