How to Ask for a Raise

by Kelly on August 27, 2013

in Careers

Whether the economy is doing good or is doing bad – you always need a raise and your boss or employer always has an excuse not to give a raise or to keep the raise as small as possible. Discussions related to salary raise are usually unpleasant and rarely end up on a positive note.

Lobbying for a better salary or perks shouldn’t jeopardize your career, though, if you do it the right way — especially if you’re a valued employee, says Joseph Grenny, who wrote the bestselling book Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High.

There could be a number of reasons why you’re not getting a raise you deserve. Schedule a self evaluation lesson, sit back, identify and note them. Here are some ideas to get your thought process going. Do your homework and go prepared.

Recommended Reads:

1. Making Yourself Indispensable

2. Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High

3. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talkin

How to Ask for a Raise

1. Avoid Unrealistic Expectations

Gone are the days of internet bubble when expectations of 30-40 or even 100% raise was realistic. Understand the industry/sector you’re in and how well it is doing and also how well is your company doing. In the US, average raise is usually 2% with the top performers getting around 4% raise. Identify average salaries for your title, industry, and area by visiting Glassdoor.com or Salary.com

2. Surpassing Expectations?

“Doing what you’re expected to” is one of the most commonly referred sentences when denying a raise. You may believe that you did better than expected, but you might not have surpassed the expectations of your manager or leadership team or at-least they might not be aware of your work.

Also Read:  8 Most In-Demand Tech Skills for 2013-2014

Unless you really believe that you did good and surpassed expectations, there is not point in asking for a raise as you are likely to be turned down. If you’ve not done anything to prove your point, plan and execute one before you ask for a raise.

3. Learn Art of Self Promotion and Being Assertive

Self promotion is an art and most of us are very poor at it. Unfortunately, unless you learn self promotion – you’ll find yourself neglected. Start by getting tons of third-party or customer praise.

You got to be assertive when asking for a raise. There is no substitute for being assertive. Being non-assertive (i.e. hoping that others will realize that you deserve a raise) will get you nowhere: Management seldom will give you a raise voluntarily.

At the same you can not go out all assertive. Do remember that generally it’s aggressive people who are fired over salary negotiations. Never hand down ultimatums. It only puts your boss on the defensive and your behavior might be noted as improper attitude and an excuse to let you go.

If you’re an introvert, you should read this: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talkin

Justify your cause by reminding your manager that the high cost of recruiting, hiring and re-training your replacement will far outweigh the raise you’re requesting.

4. Current Skills

Your skills may be obsolete and your boss may not find you competent enough. Worse, he might find you easily replaceable. Instead of your skills being listed in 5 Technology Skills That Will No Longer Help You Get a Job, you should find your skills listed in 8 Most In-Demand Tech Skills for 2013-2014.

Also Read:  How to Ace a Performance Review

Your skills should be such that they make you indispensable. Learn how to make yourself indispensable.

5. Avoid Making it a Personal Matter

Never make your salary a personal matter. Businesses don’t run on emotion, so if you’re bankrupt or defaulting on your loans, no one would be willing to help you unless you have something to give in return like a new idea or a plan. Bottom-line: A raise will be awarded based on your merit, not your sob story.

There are several factors, which contribute to getting a raise. However, the bottom line is that you need to  make it easier to sell the idea to higher-ups, “you want your boss to see this as an informed business decision, not a charitable contribution.”

6. Avoid Rounded Numbers

There was an article I read on WSJ, which recommends avoiding round numbers during salary negotiations. Though salary negotiations are quite different than asking for a raise, I believe using the same same strategy does help. When you tell your boss that your salary should be $92,350 — it does create an impression that you’ve done your homework.

7. Kiss Ass or Show the Value:

If you’re less interested in kissing asses, you should be more interested in showing the way you create value for the company. Like Y Combinator founder Paul Graham discusses at length in his essay “How To Make Wealth,” getting paid is a matter of measurement and leverage: “You need to be in a position where your performance can be measured, or there is no way to get paid more by doing more. And you have to have leverage, in the sense that the decisions you make have a big effect.”

Also Read:  How to Ace a Performance Review

8. Ask for One

Maybe you never asked for one. Don’t expect your boss to bring it up. Ask for one!

Most important, keep in mind that getting a raise isn’t a game to play once or twice a year. Let your boss know throughout the year that you re capable professional who wants to be paid what you’re worth.

Recommended Reads:

1. Making Yourself Indispensable

2. Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High

3. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talkin

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