Knowing how to ask for a raise is a skill that can be perfected. Like other forms of negotiation, having a set plan is essential to a favorable outcome – so get prepared.
Now that the economy has started to stabilize, most of us should realize two important things. First, you’re still here, so you must be valuable to the company. Second, you haven’t received a pay raise in at least 3 years. Depending on your situation, now may be a great time to ask for a pay raise. Take the following six steps into consideration when formulating your plan on how to ask for a pay raise:
- Evaluate the situation. Ask yourself: Is this a good time to ask for a raise? Obviously if your company is in the middle of layoffs, it may not be a good time. However, a lot of companies are now back in the black and reporting good quarterly earnings. Know that these earnings are available to be paid out to valuable employees, like yourself.
- Frame the conversation/request. Never ask for a pay raise because you need it, rather because you’ve earned it. Framing the conversation by setting up a review or evaluation to discuss your accomplishments since your last pay increase is a very effective way to start the conversation. Be prepared to answer questions on why you deserve it and if you’re willing to take on additional responsibilities.
- Stay confident. The downturn in the economy lead to layoffs and hiring freezes. Chances are if you’re still at your company, you’re valuable and would be missed. Your competitors, who are also now making money, would love to lure away under appreciated (but valuable) employees. Have confidence that your company realizes your value and does not want to lose you over a (deserved) pay raise – don’t be afraid to ask for something you deserve!
- Know what you’re asking for. You have two options here. The first option is to ask for a set/predetermined amount or percentage increase. This usually requires a good understanding of your place within the company and what an appropriate increase would be. The second option is to put the question back on your manager as to what an appropriate increase would be. This can be more risky, as you don’t want to appear unfocused, however, in situations where you may be grossly underpaid or taking on new responsibilities you don’t want to sell yourself short. Have a backup plan/set figure in mind to fall back on just in case this option proves to be unproductive.
- Be flexible. Know that most company managers have certain approval levels for salaries and bonuses. Be prepared if a manager tells you that he or she will need to get higher level approval. Additionally, you may get some of the raise in the form of an increased salary and some as a bonus or stock option – stay open minded, maybe they add the benefit of allowing you to work from home.
- Finalize your deal! The final step is the most important, but close the conversation with a definitive answer. Know when your raise goes into effect and any terms surrounding it. Please, don’t leave with more questions than answers -I’ve done this before and it can lead to stressful situations.
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