If the company is in a slump and your boss is under pressure to
cut the department's budget, the odds are working against you.
If times are good, so is your timing.
You're working long hours, meeting every deadline, filling
every quota, and closing every sale. You think you deserve a
raise, but nobody is offering to fill your pockets. Often, the
only way to get a raise is to ask for one. But before you waltz
into the office and name your price, take time to prepare -
there is an art to asking for a raise. Below are six smart
steps to follow.
Step 1: Do the research
Figure out your "going rate" in the industry. Are you paid
more or less than average? Consult acquaintances and friends
who have similar jobs, or ask your colleagues how much they
earn (if you can do so delicately). Find out if your company
follows a set pay scale, and use this information to
determine how much of a raise you can reasonably request.
Step 2: Assess your performance
Raises are given to reward stellar performance and to
recognize the level of responsibility an employee manages. Do
you qualify for a raise? Assess the quantity of your work,
and even more importantly, the quality of your work. Rate
factors such as your willingness to accept new tasks and
learn new things. Take an honest look at your contributions
to the company.
Step 3: Evaluate your company's economic
If the company is in a slump and your boss is under pressure
to cut the department's budget, the odds are working against
you. If times are good, so is your timing.
Step 4: Come up with a number
Using all the information you have gathered, determine what
you think is a fair raise. Set a range. The upper limit
should be aggressive, but not outrageous, and the lower limit
should be your breaking point, below which you would consider
looking for a new job.
Step 5: Be confident and convincing
Present a solid and thoughtful case to your boss. If your
research reveals that you're underpaid, share the evidence
with your boss. Explain the reasons you deserve a raise, and
use specific examples to illustrate your contributions. Don't
just ask for a raise, justify one.
Step 6: Leave with information
If your boss wants to negotiate, be firm but flexible. Be
creative when negotiating compensation, leveraging options
like more vacation time, transportation reimbursement, or
flexible work hours. If the answer is just plain no, leave
the meeting with some information. Find out why you were
turned down. Is it your performance? Is money tight? Is it
too soon for a raise? Demonstrate your persistence by asking
what you can do to improve your chances for a raise in the
future, and agree to revisit the subject again.