Guest post by Alban
Asking for a pay raise is not something which is taught and can be a contentious issue, especially when times are tough for many businesses and many families. However, successfully securing a pay raise can have little to do with economic conditions, and all to do with how you approach your boss.
Your boss is unlikely to actually be an ogre and if you don’t have a problem talking to them about a project deadline or scheduling your annual leave them you can approach them in the same respectful and calm manner to ask for a pay raise. It is still easy to feel you are jeopardizing your position with the company if you ask for more money and in down times you may be highlighting yourself as the next one to go in a job cut which is why you need to be aware of the best tactics to use and attitudes to adopt when asking for a pay raise.
And yes – you should still ask for a raise if you think you deserve one, if you like your job and your co-workers then you will be much better off asking for more money in your current position than trying to insert yourself into a new office environment with a higher paying position.
Just make sure you don’t:
- Blackmail your boss, giving them the ultimatum of approving your pay raise or threatening to leave.
- Tell your boss you’re struggling financially and need more money.
- Complain about your job and you need more money to cope.
Instead, approach your boss respectfully, and by being prepared with these 11 tips:
1) Make sure you deserve the raise. Before you begin your research or rehearse what you are going to say, take a look at your current position and attitude within the company. Make sure you:
- Don’t regularly arrive late or hung over.
- You are motivated and hard working to show dedication to your employer.
- Get on well with others, rather than causing contention or tension amongst your colleagues.
- Speak well of the business and your boss both within the business and without, as a Facebook update or tweet can get back to your manager to reveal your true feelings.
- Don’t spend work time on personal pursuits, this includes personal phone calls, checking a personal email or catching up on the latest celebrity news.
These are all things which your boss will have already noticed about your performance and if you have not been giving your all to your employer, they are unlikely to return the favor. Therefore, be prepared to explain any of the above issues.
2) Understand your relationship with your boss. This will help you direct the tone of the negotiations and if you have a good relationship, you get on well and ask about each others’ families then you can take a more relaxed tone. If you and your boss share common interests or spend time together socially then a bottle of wine from your cellar door trip or bottle of his favourite scotch can be received in the friendly nature it was intended. However, if you do not have this open relationship with your boss, such ‘bribery’ could work against you.
3) Check your last raise. You are unlikely to be successful in your request if you have been on your current salary for less than a year. Typical company policy is to review staff performance, and wages and expenses on a six monthly or yearly basis and you should take at least a year to prove you are worth your current salary before asking for more.
4) Show your contributions to the business. Now it comes time to prove to your boss that you really do deserve a raise, and not just for your taste in wine. To show the contributions you have made to the business:
- Keep a record of the savings you have made for the business.
- Record financial and time saving initiatives you have implemented.
- Prove increased revenue through your work or systems.
- Show levels of customer satisfaction thanks to your client interactions or through increased ease of use for your products or services.
- Show how you have increased the quality of the product or the productivity of your team.
These records should be as detailed as possible, so it is best to make notes as you achieve each goal or make each change. Make sure you can offer real financial figures and client benefits, and show how those translate into a more profitable and productive company. You can then ask that some of these profits be reinvested into you.
5) Look for a complete package. While more money is always nice, consider what else you could benefit from. Think about this in advance because you might find that rather than using these incentives as a suggestion if your raise is knocked back, you might actually prefer some of these benefits in lieu of more money:
- More responsibility.Job satisfaction comes from more than just money, it comes from feeling valued and if your boss is able to award you more responsibility, or varied tasks to expand your role then you may find that you are happier at work and don’t need more money to feel satisfied and motivated.
- Salary sacrifice.Rather than taking home more money, you may ask to have your employer pay for something you need for work such as a laptop, a car, a mobile phone, your home phone and internet if you are regularly called on after hours. Even child care can be paid for through salary sacrifice.
- More annual leave.More time off is always welcome and you may be able to negotiate more annual leave for your new contract.
- A new workstation. You may ask for a bigger office, a new desk or chair or a new computer or laptop because if you can work more efficiently, you may find you are spending less time at the office.
6) Ask for more training. Also consider whether you can use the opportunity of asking for a raise to expand your skills base, and ask for your boss to fund training or workshops in your field. You could ask for your boss to pay for professional memberships so that you can keep in touch with your role, your job expectations and your industry. This in turn increases your value to the company and allows you to do your job better, giving you more reason to ask for a raise in the future.
7) Do your research. When you are looking into how much of a raise to ask for, you need to do very thorough research to include:
- Job boards and the market rate. Look online or through newspapers to see how much your position with other businesses is being advertised for. This will give you a starting point for your research, but this is a very broad indicator of what you should be earning.
- Call a recruitment agency. Next contact a recruitment agency, one as dedicated to your industry as you can find. Ask them what you can be expected to earn in your position, for your level of responsibility and in a company of your size as all of these things can impact your salary.
- Consider your role for your experience. Just because you may be highly qualified in your position, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should be paid more. If you are qualified as a marketing manager but working as an administrator then you can’t expect to be paid for your qualifications, if they don’t relate to the role you are employed to do.
8 ) Have a target in mind. Based on the profits and benefits you have brought about for the company, and your market research, have an exact figure in mind to mention to your boss. Also, rather than asking for simply 10% more money, make sure you can tell your boss exactly how much more that means in an annual salary, as they may not know immediately how much you currently earn.
9) Ask for a raise for the future. Make sure your boss understands that you want a raise as an investment in your future with the company. Your current salary does not only reflect the work you are doing, but the potential you have to work in the business in the future. Therefore, point out your future goals for your position with the company, and explain how a raise will help you achieve those goals.
10) Make an appointment. No matter how casual or friendly your relationship with your boss, always make an appointment, and make sure they know what you want to discuss. This will give your boss time to prepare, rather than have them feel blindsided.
Try and make the appointment for earlier in the day, before everyone is too tired, and things get too busy. Also aim to discuss your raise at the completion of a big project, or after another important milestone you can take credit for.
11) Stay calm. Meeting with your boss to discuss a pay raise should not be done on a whim, or because you’ve had a bad day. Instead, you need to carefully plan your approach and ensure that you have – and can present – good reasons for asking for a raise. Even if your boss turns down your request for more money, and your requests for an increased employment package, keep in mind your own costs to the business, and the fact that the company may genuinely not be able to afford any new benefits right now.
Businesses have vast costs surrounding their employees which go beyond just wages. There are insurances to pay, retirement funds to contribute to, taxes, work cover and legal costs so if there is no money in the budget for a pay raise, yelling at your boss won’t change that.
Alban is a personal finance writer at Home Loan Finder, where he helps people to compare home loans online.