7 Ways To Get A Raise At Work Because You Deserve It
Chances are you're a total boss when it comes to your job and are probably working harder than your pay grade deserves. In a situation like that there are two things you could do: Complain to yourself... or draft a battle plan on how to go ask for that raise. Starting the conversation is always a little bit uncomfortable, but don't choose not rocking the boat over having less money in your wallet. If you deserve it and if you prepare properly, chances are high that your boss will side with you and sign off on your call to being paid what you're worth.
But marching into your employer's office with a request for more money is easier said than done. The first thing to keep in mind is you need to stay analytical and have pie charts, binders, and facts and figures behind you. I'm completely serious. You want to hit management with hard facts over why you can't possibly leave that meeting without a couple extra dollars coming in every hour, because it's hard facts that they'll respond to. List accomplishments, gather data on your performance, and have a plan ready and drafted on how you plan to improve the company if you stay on, giving them something to work with when considering the request. So how do you go about delivering the big question? Here are seven detailed tips on how to ask for a raise — you've got this.
1. First Thing's First: Gather Up Your Confidence
There are two things that you should keep in mind when trying to scrounge up the courage to go ask for a raise. First, if you believe you deserve one, you should absolutely ask for one. According to a recent study by Payscale where they surveyed over 30,000 workers, almost 60 percent of workers don’t ask for a raise, which is madness. The worst thing that could happen is you get the answer no.
Second, if you do deserve a raise and are prepared to make a solid case for it to your boss, chances are very high you'll actually get it. According to Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant, in an article for Forbes, “Your organization has invested time and money in you. Savvy bosses understand that unhappy and underpaid employees are under-performing employees, which helps no one. It’s a drain on their time to have to re-hire and train a replacement that fits the corporate culture. So if you have a legitimate request, you do have a certain amount of leverage.”
2. Draft A Valid Case
There are many ways to start this conversation, but here's a note to keep in your back pocket: Don't come in saying that people in your position get paid a certain amount more than you. That's all well and good, but your boss will just suggest that you go and work for those other companies. This isn't Walmart; they're not going to match their competitors' prices.
Instead, make a case for all the times you've gone above and beyond for the company, and how you staying on board will benefit them in the future. Note that the "above and beyond" bit is important. Listing things that are part of your job description, no matter how excellent you do them, won't impress anyone. That's just you doing your job.
According to J.T. O’Donnell, founder of CareerHMO, in an article for career resource site Careerealism, "You need to talk about what you plan to do in the future to justify the additional salary. How will the skills, knowledge and experience you have save and/or make the company enough money to justify the increase? If you can’t prove it, they won’t give it to you.” You need to make your boss realize that, even with your more expensive rates, you're still better than anyone else that they could hire to replace you. That'll be the key to seeing that bump on your paycheck.
3. Research A Number And Prepare It
Negotiating is all about the back and forth, so make sure you come in with a solid number that you think you deserve. But how do you come up with the amount? Do your research.
First, figure out what the norm is for a raise in your industry. According to Amanda Haddaway, author of Destination Real World: Success after Graduation, "For companies that are doing well, raises rarely exceed 5 percent anymore. Do some research on salary data for your job, industry and geographic location. You can find some of this data online or from your local workforce services office." Now remember, you're not going to mention that a 5 percent increase is what other people receive. Your boss won't care about people outside of her company. This is just so you know what a reasonable increase is and which number would be okay to settle on once the negotiations start.
But keep in mind, there's a strong chance your boss won't go with your original request. So if you're aiming for 5 percent, put down a higher number like 10 or 15 percent that you could chip away at.
4. Create A Portfolio Of Your Achievements
The way you present your facts matters, too. Make sure you create a tangible report that you can give to your employer to mull over after you leave the meeting. According to Cheryl Simpson of Executive Resume Rescue for Careerealism, it's all about quantifying your work. Write a list of all the new tasks, projects, and roles you took on since your last raise. Then, "write several CAR stories (challenge-action-result) stories to demonstrate the challenges you’ve solved for your employer, the action steps you took to resolve them, and the measurable results your efforts led to.”
The key word here is measurable. Your company will only care about how you've helped their bottom line. Use numbers — mention how much money you saved them, how many clients you brought in, how much money you earned the company, etc. Bombard them with statistics and it'll be difficult to turn you down because you clearly deserve it.
5. Don't Be The First One To Mention A Number
Alright, you have your case drafted why you're valuable to the company, you have a number in mind of how much you'd like to have increased, but how exactly do you make your boss see the light? First technique is to not be the first one to bring up the number. This is so cliche, but it's true. You need to see what your boss is considering to give you, which will start at the low-end of the spectrum, and then you can give your initial number, which will be at the high-end of the spectrum. But sometimes you might be pleasantly surprised and be offered more than you expected, which means you can bump up your own initial ask. But how, exactly, do you dance around the question tactfully?
When you boss asks you how much you're looking to get, you should respond with, according to J.D Roth at Lifehacker, "You're in a much better position to know how much I'm worth to you than I am."
Boom. Not only do you show respect to your superior, but you phrase it in a way that would make it hard (and slightly insulting) to low-ball you.
6. Raise The Number Offered
Now, say the number you received could be a little better. Before you move on with your own counter-offer, try and see if you can get it raised just a little with one simple move. According to Jack Chapman, author of Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1000 a Minute , when you hear the offer, repeat the number — and then stop talking. "The most likely outcome of this silence is a raise," he says.
So repeat the number back, keep your face blank, and count to a solid ten seconds in your head. Your employer might just sweeten the deal to fill in the silence.
7. Be Prepared For The Word "No"
Sometimes your employer will flat out say no, or sometimes she'll meet you below the middle. A lot of people think this is where the negotiation ends, but it isn't. Keep in mind it's in the company's best interest to not offer you more money; they're hoping you'll accept defeat and close the meeting with a thank you and a goodbye. But you won't, because you now know how to tactfully push the envelope a little further.
According to Rebecca Healy at US News, you should say something along the lines of, "I understand where you're coming from, and I just want to reiterate my enthusiasm for the position and working with you and the team. I think my skills are perfectly suited for this position and are worth X." Remember, you just spent a whole meeting proving why you're worth that amount of money — stick to your guns. Don't feel guilty or uncomfortable.
Then, just keep quiet. Don't say anything else and don't feel like you need to add more justifications. You've said your piece and made your last push, and it's now their turn to speak.
And more times than not, they'll say something along the lines of "We'll see what we could do." What this means? Success.