It is that time of the year when performance review requests come calling for many. Forms will be filled, review meetings with managers scheduled, and sometimes tough and sometimes happy conversations will take place. Raises may or may not get discussed depending on many factors – company performance, your performance, your manager’s approach, a little bit of this and a little bit of that. One thing is for sure – when you feel you deserve a raise, sometimes the only way you can get it is by – yes, asking for a raise.
And that’s the tricky part, how do you start the conversation and how do you decide the content of the conversation? Well, the good news is, even though you may feel you are absolutely unprepared, and feel intimidated regarding the possible reactions from the other end, rest assured that while this may be the first time you are asking for a raise, it is definitely not the first time your employer is being asked for one! People have surely been in your place before and have been able to deal with it. The first thing you must remember is, it is always better to have a one-on-one conversation regarding matters such as these, rather than any form of virtual communication. Request for a meeting through an email while stating the purpose briefly, and asking for a convenient time for the meeting. Once you’ve done that, here are the five strategies that will help you guide your conversation in asking for a raise you deserve successfully!
Asking for a raise strategy #1 : Know how you much you are worth –
The only way you will be able to sell yourself is, if you have a strong sense of how much you are worth and deserve. Weigh and assess your skills and your achievements. Make notes about the skills you have picked up while on the job and analyze your own career graph yourself. Factor in any investments you may have made in order to enhance your skill set, and how it has benefited the organization you work for. As we cited in our earlier post on salary negotiation – conduct a personal SWOT (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats) analysis to understand your differentiators and the special skills or experiences that make you a more valuable employee. Ensure you have these differentiators written down, as this information can then be used as leverage to a raise. Before you arrive at a conclusion, let your thoughts be known to a trusted colleague or friend, who has a sense of the situation you are in, to be able to get a second opinion.
Asking for a raise strategy #2 : Know how much your job is worth –
Keep a reality check on your expectations. Gather some understanding of the domain you work in, and the standard pay ranges in your company and outside. Do not compare your pay structure, to a friend’s pay structure who is from a completely different domain, even if you may have the same years of experience. For example, a job in the social development sector, may not pay you as much as say a job in a corporate MNC. Have practical and realistic expectations. At the same time, know that you mustn’t sell yourself cheap. Once you have a sense of how much your job is worth, and the work and effort you as an individual put into the role you have been trusted with, arrive at a sensible number.
Asking for a raise strategy #3 : Research the company’s pay practices –
It is important to do this so as to not end up being disappointed. In case your organization does not have the budget, you will notice that your colleagues have gone down the same trajectory, and have been denied a raise. However, in case that is not the case, having a sense of the percentages of appreciation/hikes will help you against undervaluing yourself or overstating your expectations.
Asking for a raise strategy #4 : If not a raise, negotiate for a bonus or more perks –
If your employer acknowledges your case for a raise, but has his/her own valid reasons for not being able to process it right away, have a plan B ready. Ask for other bonuses in the form of more paid leaves, increment in your TA or DA, or any other incentives your organization may be able to offer you. We have some good tips on negotiating bonuses and perks in our post : Salary Negotiation Tips – Talking Numbers – Part II.
Asking for a raise strategy #5 : Timing is key yet don’t delay –
May be we don’t need to really illustrate this point. You do know that asking your boss for a raise when he/she is in a bad mood isn’t really the best idea. Or asking for it when a big project is just about to be rolled out and your request comes across as a threat. Wait for a time when things are comparatively smooth and the annual/bi-annual performance reviews (if your company has these) are not finished. Then your request for a raise has greater chances of being entertained. Yes timing is key, however, waiting forever won’t get you that raise! Overthinking this will only get you more confused. If you know you deserve a raise, go ahead and ask for it!
These conversations can often go awry if not initiated in the proper manner. They do qualify as sensitive conversations. We are not saying this to you to intimidate you, but to tell you that it is important to follow direct channels of communication for these conversations and strictly avoid any via media pattern, the lesser the chaos, the better your chances. Also remember to follow up with the details of the conversation through an email, so that there is an official acknowledgement of the conversation and conclusions that followed the conversation. All the best!
Image Courtesy: Dilbert.com