Who doesn’t want to earn more money? Unless you are self-employed, you must rely on someone else to agree to give you a higher salary. It’s not enough to need more money – asking for a raise shouldn’t be based on personal needs, but rather on documented evidence of how you’ve added value to your company.
If you are wondering if you should be asking your boss for a raise, here are some things to consider:
1. Have I been on the job long enough?
If you’ve only been on the job for a month or two, you don’t deserve a raise – at least not yet. A raise is something you earn. It’s not something to which you’re entitled to so give yourself a little time to show you’re (p)raise-worthy.
2. Do I understand company policy?
When you were hired, you were given the employees’ manual – if you can just find it. Most companies have policies regarding raises. Some businesses give raises annually. Some require a number of supervisory reviews. Others give employee raises based on merit. Read your employee manual, or ask your friend in human resources how the company determines who gets what and when.
3. Do I have a good attendance record?
If you’ve been out of work due to illness, bereavement leave, mental health days, or your kid’s football game, it’s probably not a good time to ask for a raise.
4. Have I received positive evaluations?
What does your manager think of your work performance? Or your director or foreperson? Have you received a number of glowing evaluations, and are they a part of your employment file? If so, it may well be time to ask for a bump in pay. Conversely, if you’ve been written up for on-the-job misdeeds, it might be a good idea to clean up your records before asking for a raise.
5. Am I indispensable?
Indispensable people get raises. Are you indispensable or could the company replace you with a potted plant? There are lots of ways to make yourself indispensable – everything from learning how to clear the copy machine when it jams to knowing how to handle two or three different jobs – no problem. Start making yourself indispensable – the go-to gal or guy, the one everyone else counts on.
6. Can I point to any specific accomplishments?
How have you made things better, easier, simpler or less costly for your employer? Did you land a mammoth contract? Redesign reporting procedures in the field? What can you point to that demonstrates your contribution to the company? Facts bolster your case for a raise. Vague generalities are definitely less effective.
7. Do I know what I should be paid?
You’re a specialist in mango research. Okay, go to Monster.com or Jobs.com and do a search of mango analysts. How much does one of these specialists get paid by other mango research companies? If you’re in the lower salary range, you’re in a better position to seek parity. Upper salary range of mango researchers and your case weakens.
8. What options do I have?
Before asking for that raise, you might want to see how many positions are open for your particular expertise. If there’s only one opening for a mango researcher in the entire world (sounds likely?), give thanks you have a job at all. If you ask for a raise and get turned down, what will you do? Quit? Are there other, better-paying positions out there? Do they require you to move the whole family across the country? And are you and the family prepared to do that? Now? Prepare yourself for the possibility of being refused a raise (it could happen). How would you feel? How would your employer feel? And what options are open to you in such a case?
9. Do I know how the company is doing?
If your company is just scraping by, people are being laid off, jobs are moving overseas, hours reduced – think long and hard about hitting up the boss for a raise. In fact, you might want to start looking for another job. It sounds like your employer has a problem. On the other hand, if the company is hiring and sending execs to Bermuda for a golf conference, you can feel a bit more secure that the company has the wherewithal to throw a few more dollars your way each month.
10. Am I seeing the big picture?
A nice salary is, well, nice. However, a nice salary isn’t the reason most of us go to work each day. We go to work because we enjoy the job, we’re friends with co-workers and we get many emotional benefits along with that salary. Then, there are the tangible benefits: health insurance for the family, paid vacation and holidays, sick days, an in-house daycare center, performance bonuses, a 401k matching plan – each company is different. But all companies provide some benefits other than just a paycheck. Before asking for that raise, ask yourself if the entire job package is fair.
If you still think you deserve more money for services rendered, move ahead with caution.
The absolute worst thing you can do is to march into your supervisor’s office and demand a raise!
Steps for Asking for a Raise
Set up a time to meet.
Request a meeting with your supervisor and ensure that you both have the dedicated time in your schedules for this private meeting.
Take documentation to the meeting.
Don’t go empty handed – bring your salary research and list of your accomplishments, or professional portfolio. Also, bring copies to leave with your supervisor, so the information can be reviewed after your meeting.
Do not ask for a specific number.
Much like in a job interview, don’t pin yourself down to one number – give a range within which you are comfortable negotiating. Generally, it’s best to let your supervisor propose the number based on the specifics of your accomplishments.
Don’t expect an immediate answer.
Your supervisor will likely want time to review the numbers and consult with the higher management. Don’t get insulted if you are told you must wait. It is appropriate to ask what the next step in the process is and when you can expect an answer.
Discussions about pay raises can get emotional and it’s important to remain professional and straightforward in all of your conversations, even if you are turned down. This is not the time to voice your dissatisfaction with company operations or complaints about co-workers.
Asking for a pay increase is a stress-inducing event. With planning and research, however, you can enter into those discussions feeling confident in your request!