If you would like to ask for a raise, don’t just walk into your boss’s office and ask. Instead, create a strategy that you can use to help increase your chances of getting the raise that you ask for. Here are some tips that you can use to prepare yourself for the encounter.
Ask For a Raise While the Budget is Still in Play
Many companies can only give raises at certain times during the year. This is usually when the budget is in play. For many companies this is at the end of each fiscal year, but you should check with your accounting department or someone else in your company to see when the annual budget is completed. Also, find out when your performance review takes place and see if it is before or after the budget is finalized. Another type of timing that you can employ in asking for a raise is to ask right after a big project is completed or right after some positive announcement by the company. For example, if your company just announced that it had record revenue or profit for the quarter, or some other good news, chances are that management will be feeling pretty good and might be more inclined to help you out with your request. Definitely don’t ask right after bad news or during layoffs, as you will be seen as not being empathetic to your company.
Justify Your Request
When the time comes to ask for that raise, don’t walk in unprepared. Be ready to justify the cost of your raise in terms that your boss can approve. Here’s how to get ready. Start by thinking long and hard about what you offer to the company. Then, start jotting down highlights in a word document or powerpoint presentation. Continue to organize your thoughts and create a presentation that shows just how valuable you are to the company. For example, if you are in sales and you were able to bring in $100,000 in extra sales this year, it would be reasonable to ask for a raise and justify it by saying something like:
I was able to bring in $100,000 in additional sales this year. Given the company’s profit margin of 20 percent, this contributed $20,000 to the bottom line. While I understand that other departments such as engineering, marketing and finance helped me win these sales, it seems reasonable that a small portion of the proceeds be added to my salary.
When trying to justify your worth to your employer, there are good and bad reasons that you can use to ask for a raise. Here are some examples of those reasons. They should all relate to the end goal of your company, which is usually its bottom line profit.
Reasons for a raise include:
- Taking on increased responsibility.
- Accomplishing more than other employees in your department.
- Increasing the overall productivity of the company by implementing new procedures or improving current procedures.
- Picking up the duties of someone that was laid off or no longer needed.
Reasons that should not be used when asking for a raise:
- I just had another child.
- Our family is struggling and needs more money.
- I haven’t gotten a raise in a long time.
- Everyone else got raises and I am entitled to one.
- I want a raise or I will quit.
Give a Specific Number
Before you ask for it, you’ll need to know how much to ask for. Do your research. There are hundreds of websites that list average pay for your position by experience, location and many other factors. Also, search job boards to see what other companies are paying. Put together a case and have some data that backs up your request. And don’t be shy. Studies have shown that people that ask for more money get bigger raises. Even if the number is higher than you really expect, it will set the bar in your favor and can help you get a bigger raise. With that said, don’t get too ridiculous or you can annoy your boss and make them feel like you are ungrateful. Don’t be afraid to ask for anything that you can justify. If you are way off base, your boss will likely let you know why.
Stay Positive and Reinforce Your Commitment
Perhaps the most important part of asking for a raise is to be positive and reaffirm your commitment to your boss and to your company. Don’t walk in and tell your boss that you are unhappy and that you need more money to be happy. Instead, make a case of how committed you are to your boss and to your company and ask for them to show some financial commitment to you. Talk about how much you love your job, how much you like the company, and how excited you are about the long term prospects of the company. Talk about positive things and make your manager feel good about you. After all, it is much easier to reward someone that appreciates it rather than to pay off someone that does not seem to embrace the company’s position.
In the end, you should have all of the above factors thought out and ready to go before you step foot in your boss’s office. While you will rarely get all that you want, using this type of strategy should put you in a much better position to achieve your goal than you would be without it.