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How to Ask for a Raise

Asking for a raise is easy if you follow these tips

How to Ask for a Raise
Delivering value to your organization
can make the raise decision a
no-brainer for your boss

Asking for a raise can be a nerve-racking experience, even for the most assertive, confident people. If you’ve been wondering how to ask for a raise , here are the keys to successfully negotiate a pay increase.

Check the Going Rate

Research the value of your job in the open market by networking with your peers at other companies or checking out salary comparison websites, such as the National Compensation Survey by the US Department of Labor or websites like Salary.com. The same title can mean different things at different companies, so be sure to review responsibilities for a like comparison.

Evaluate Your Worth

Your accomplishments are the currency you use to calculate your value. Prepare by making a detailed list of all you have accomplished in your role so that you can present how valuable you are to the organization. When listing your contributions, give clear examples using dollar values, percentages and other statistics. For instance, if you are in sales, show how much your sales numbers have increased over a set period of time. When you can prove how you add value to the company (via revenue, cost savings, and other means), the more likely your chances of getting a pay raise. 

Research What It Will Take

Research if any company policies exist about getting raises or promotions. If your company has a clear career path for your function or department, find out what the tasks are for the next level and compare with yours. If you are already taking on a lot of the responsibilities of the next level, you’ll be able to make a strong case for either a raise or a promotion – or both. If no company policy exists, then it will be up to your boss and/or his superiors.  

Be Realistic

It's important to know what precedents exist and where your company stands financially before you ask for a raise. Walking into your boss' office the day after a dismal quarterly report isn’t wise. You may want to wait a few months to see if your company’s prospects improve. But, even in the worst of times, pay raise opportunities may exist for a company’s best employees. That’s why it is especially crucial to prepare thoroughly for a raise discussion when money is tight – if you can prove your worth convincingly, with facts and figures to back up your claims, smart employers will at least try to meet you half way to avoid destroying your motivation or lose you to a competitor.

Timing is Everything

Although you might logically believe the performance appraisal discussion is the best time to ask for a raise, that’s often not the case. Ask your HR department if salary decisions are made before appraisals are discussed with employees. If so, you’ll want to get your request on the table before review time. 

Schedule the Meeting

Avoid ambushing your supervisor with your raise request. Rather, set up a meeting with him or her in advance and say it is specifically about your compensation. Your boss will want to do research with the HR staff and his or her own industry sources. 

Be Flexible

Your best bet is to go in and ask for a specific amount that's a little higher than what you want. In addition to that number, have a lower figure in your head that is acceptable. Be flexible. Would you consider additional perks, more time off, flextime or vacation time instead of a raise? If salary budgets are an issue, try for a bonus. A one-time payment won't affect the pay structure, so it might be easier to get. 

If the Answer is No

Don't beat yourself up if things don't go as smoothly as you had planned. Look at it as starting the conversation. Learn exactly why it isn't possible right now, what you can do differently, and if there's a potential for a raise in the future. However, you should also prepare yourself for the worst. If you realize there's no way your company can afford to give you the pay you deserve, it may be time to start looking for a new job.

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