A lot of people stay stuck with the same salary for years for fear of negotiating a raise—don’t let it happen to you! We want better for you, and we believe you can make it happen. Asking for what you want (and deserve) from your superiors takes guts, but may be well rewarded; and if it’s done tastefully enough, it won’t damage your position with the company, regardless of the answer. Follow these tips, and you’ll be on your way to more recognition and a thicker wallet for all your hard work.
Timing is everything.
Kids know this instinctively—remember when you were little and wanted something from your parents? A new outfit or a bigger allowance, say? You would be on your best behavior for days: remembering to take out the trash without being told, never complaining about dinner, even if it was fish again, and volunteering to watch your baby sister or brother. You were essentially building up merit points, and waiting for the perfect moment to ask for what you wanted. Reach back into your childhood and apply this concept to your work.
You don’t need to flatter your boss or kiss anyone’s behind, but make sure that you’ve been doing your job and doing it well for a while before you pop the question. This way, you’ll have specific projects or achievements to point to when explaining why you feel you deserve the boost; in other words, let your work underscore your value within the company. If you’ve been producing sloppy work or showing up late for the past few weeks, chances are it’s not the best moment to ask. Similarly, do not ask for a raise when you’ve only been working for your employer for a short time. Instead, consider the one-year mark. Yearly review meetings are a fair, and accepted, time to negotiate a raise.
Do some research.
You would never go into a job interview without knowing relevant information about the company. Similarly, you should not go into a salary negotiation without relevant information about the typical pay scale for someone in your position. This ensures that your boss doesn’t get away with giving you less than you deserve. Another point you’ll want to brush up on is whether or not there are any present barriers to your raise. Downsizing or cost-cutting point to fiscal troubles, and you’ll stay a step ahead of your boss if you acknowledge these problems right away, adding that you’d like to help the company figure out how to deal with them.
Keep it impersonal and unemotional.
You may have taken the job because you needed more rent money, or because you were starting a family, but that’s not why you were hired. Think like a boss, and don’t bring up your personal motivations for wanting a raise—this will also help keep your emotions out of the conversation. Getting misty-eyed about how Sara or Robert needs a college fund is going to feel like emotional manipulation to your boss. And nobody likes feeling manipulated into giving something away.
Be Flexible, and Make Sure it’s a Conversation, Not a Presentation or Ultimatum.
Ask your boss what she envisions for your position in the future. Ask questions about what you can do to better fill the company’s needs. Use the answers to help shape your request. If you walk in and spend ten minutes talking at them about everything you need and then make it a yes-or-no situation, chances are you’ll get the no; if you include your boss in the conversation, she’ll be more easily led toward the yes.