Are you looking forward to but not sure how to ask for a raise? Usually, it can’t hurt to ask. After all, most bosses are certainly quick to ask if you can do a little extra work. Maybe you have been asked to work late, come in early, train the new employee, fix the problem your co-worker has made, or keep things running while the boss goes on vacation. The question then becomes: When it is okay for the employee to ask for a raise?
Unfortunately, when it comes to wanting more money out of your job, asking can be tricky and sometimes awkward. Although most companies do yearly evaluations, it is tough to know whether or not you are established enough after one year to ask for a raise if you’re new to the company.
On the other end of the spectrum, a veteran employee may think they deserve more money sometime between yearly evaluations. Then, of course, there are those disorganized companies who have not yet caught on to the idea of yearly evaluations. Did I mention this can get complicated?
When you deserve a raise is completely situational, and I cannot comment on whether or not you should be getting a raise. Upping your salary deals with the quality and amount of work you do for the company. This article is for those who know they deserve more.
One rule of thumb: If you aren’t sure if you deserve a raise, do not ask. Asking for a raise is tricky business, and you don’t want to rub your boss the wrong way for nothing.
How to Ask for a Raise 101
Once you decide you really and truly deserve a raise, it’s time to put that thought into action. Asking for more money does not have to be stressful, and if it is done correctly I guarantee you will come out on top. Consider a few of these tips to help make sure you have every aspect of your speech ready to go:
1. Approach the Right Person
A lot of times employees have more than one boss. They may have a supervisor who then answers to the head of the department who then answers to the head of the company who then might answer to a corporate branch. This makes it confusing when it comes time to express your thoughts, and you’re probably already nervous enough. When it comes to who you should be asking, ask the person who sees your work most often. In most cases, this will be your supervisor.
Your supervisor is the best person to evaluate your performance, and if they agree that a raise is in order, they will then bring it to their boss. Eventually, your request will go up the line, so it is not your responsibility to talk to everyone above you in ranking.
2. Be Prepared with What to Say
Be prepared with what you are going to say before jumping the gun. Create a list of your accomplishments as well as a list of days you did more than expected. For example, if you were always present at company events or fundraisers, bring this up. If a co-worker quit and you came in early to pick up the extra work, bring that up. Be sure to start with your most recent accomplishments first.
3. Meet Your Boss
You absolutely will want to make an appointment to see your supervisor. Let your supervisor know that the meeting is regarding a question; there is no need to tell him/her before the meeting that it will be about getting a raise.
If your supervisor does not have a system to set up appointments, it is best to ask him/her if there is a good time for the two of you to talk alone. Ideally, asking this question is best if done privately, so try to come in early one day or stay a little bit late. Your boss may even talk to you right on the spot. Ask if you can go use a conference room or a break room and then begin your argument.
4. Find a Good Time of the Year
As I discussed previously, a good time to ask for a raise would be during a yearly evaluation. This will eliminate you have to worry about who to ask or where to ask.
However, many people feel they deserve a raise somewhere in between yearly evaluations. This is completely acceptable. In fact, some companies actually make salary decisions just before evaluations, so it sometimes makes more sense to ask for your raise slightly before your evaluation. For example, if your company has evaluations in December, October would be a good time to bring up the idea of a raise.
5. Know Why You Deserve a Raise
Most people know why they deserve a raise. Be sure you look at see what you’re worth. Look on salary.com and see what others in your field are making. If you need to, you can use this as your last line of defense when talking to your boss. After all, if you are getting grossly underpaid, you have a great case as to why you deserve more money.
The biggest thing to remember is that you are not trying to argue or beg with your employer; you are trying to sell yourself. This will come with the preparation of your accomplishments. You want to be respectful, calm, and confident. If you go into your meeting and sound unsure about the points you are making, you will not be very convincing.
Furthermore, be prepared if your boss turns you down. If the boss says “no,” make sure you understand why. If the reasons are not warranted, you may want to be prepared to quit. If they are warranted, be prepared to ask what it will take. At the very least, you can ask for a title change.
In the end, your boss likely knows the kind of work you’ve been doing. Believe it or not, bosses like to be nice. They will probably want to give you a raise! As always, it is a matter of money. If you don’t ask for it, they aren’t going to mess with it and will continue to assume you’re happy. In other words, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.”
Have you ever asked for a raise? How did it go?
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