Today, please welcome Charlie Ethington, the Outreach Manager of Your Worth Finance.
Let’s be honest — for a lot of people it’s hard to ask for a pay raise. Some people may be able to walk into their manager’s office and successfully negotiate a pay raise on a whim, but for the rest of us, it takes thoughtful planning and courage.
First, you want to make sure you’re committed to your career and your company before seeking a pay raise. It will look bad if you negotiate, get the raise, and then leave.
Second, you want to think about how you can get a raise. A pay raise can come either through patiently waiting for your boss to see that you deserve it or by proactively asking for it. It may be the case that if you want to earn more, then you need to initiate the process of asking for a pay raise and build a strong case that you deserve it.
So, where do you start? What strategies you can make to get that pay raise you deserve? Here are my top 6 strategies for you to negotiate a pay raise.
1. Be incredible.
This is the most important strategy — be incredible. You want to be a “tent pole” to your company — that is to say, be so integral and important to the company that they would fall down without you. Before you ask for a raise, ask yourself how valuable you are to your organization. Answer with brutal honesty – don’t let your ego warp your sense of importance.
For a clear perspective, try writing down your team’s top 3 goals and score how crucial your contribution is from one to five. Five means the goal cannot be achieved without your work. One means the goal can easily be achieved without your work. If you score a 12 or greater, you’re probably a “tent pole” – so integral and important that you probably deserve a raise. If you score below a 12, take the next six months to increase your impact on goals before asking for a raise.
2. Know your worth.
To some degree, an employer wants to pay employees as little as possible while still minimizing turnover and maximizing productivity. In other words, employers rely somewhat on employees being ignorant of how much they should be paid. Knowing the median salary paid to people in your job with similar backgrounds will help arm you with the right salary figure to ask for. You can learn the median salary paid for your industry, position and background with a free finance salary calculator at Your Worth Finance.
3. Don’t make it personal.
It’s usually a bad idea to ask for a raise with your personal reasons. Sympathy may work with your mom, but your boss has other concerns beyond your financial stresses of paying your mortgage, having a baby, student loans, or helping a family member. Any non-work related reason for wanting a bigger salary will likely raise sympathy from your boss, no actual raise. Instead, offer reasons related to your work, using examples of your contributions to the team. Talk about the value you that you are providing to the company and how you plan to continue to do so in more significant ways.
4. Get the timing right.
Most companies go through cycles of lean times and good times. Just after a round of layoffs is a bad time to ask for a raise. Right after a bad earnings statement is a bad time to ask too. Become very familiar with the financial status of your organization, and look ahead to the next 12 months for guidance on timing. Become familiar with the financial metrics your organization tracks, and don’t be afraid to frankly ask your supervisor how the company is performing. Asking for company for a raise is like asking a friend for a favor – do it when they’re in a good mood!
5. Don’t bluff or use threats.
Have you ever regretted something you said in an argument? Some things you can take back and some things you can’t. Threatening to quit if you don’t get a raise is something you can’t take back, so if you must say it, make sure you mean it. Your word is the most important thing you have. That’s why it’s much better not to say it at all. Even if the threat gets you the raise, your relationship with your company has been harmed because you’re seen as less loyal and less trustworthy.
6. Create an outline and practice it.
If you haven’t negotiated before and you feel somewhat awkward, then you should practice ahead of time (just like if you were giving a speech). The best way to do this is to prepare what you’ll say ahead of time and practice delivering it to a friend. Your delivery matters. Don’t like your delivery be the reason you don’t get the raise. If you deserve it, then you should have all the confidence in the world. Of course this is easier said than done, so you should absolutely practice ahead of time if you need to.
A final note!
When you ask for a pay raise from your boss, it is very important to keep a positive mindset through the process. Even if you do not succeed the first time, do not be frustrated and lose your positive attitude. Instead, be motivated to improve and create the right conditions to negotiate a pay raise in the future. Take time to reflect and ask for feedback. Be sure you’re worth the raise, then you can fight hard for it in the future.
Charlie Ethington is the Outreach Manager of Yourworthsalarycalculator.com. Your Worth Finance helps young professionals compute fair-market salaries based on experience and statistics from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, The US Labor Department, and State Agencies
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