How to Ask for a Raise and Get It!

promotions raises Aug 01, 2018

As a career coach, I often speak with employees who have been in a certain role or with an organization for a long period of time and have the mindset of ‘I'm due a raise!’ Usually, he/she has this mindset because of one or all of the following reasons:

  • tenure (they've been with the company or in a certain role for x number of years)
  • good attendance (in at 9am; out at 5pm)
  • positive reviews (received a consistent ‘meets expectations’ on their reviews)

Unfortunately, in today’s highly competitive environment, the above reasons usually aren't enough to position yourself as the top contender for a raise or promotion. Instead, make it your goal to say 'yes' to the following six questions before you request a meeting with your manager for a raise or before your next performance review.

Six Questions to Ask Yourself

    Have you consistently exceeded your employee evaluations on all levels for, at least, the past 12-24 months? (Bring in your evaluations and quote or incorporate what is noted.)
    Have you asked for additional responsibilities outside of your job description and aced those too? (Reference these specific projects and results.)
    a.) Are you regarded as an expert or leader in your area of expertise? (Reference a specific situation.)
    b.) Do others come to you for advice and direction in this area? (Use specific situation or emails shared that reference you being a leader or sharing valuable advice.)
    Are you regarded as a team player and someone who adds value to your group/organization -- by your boss, team members, and cross-functional partners? (Print out emails to share and validate your points.)
    Do you get to the office early or stay late to ensure you (and your team) meet deadlines, complete projects on time, etc? (Again, if you have any 'kudos' to share, use them as reference points; print out emails.)
    Has your department been meeting and exceeding its goals, or at the very least, is your organization doing well? (If the company has been going through a downturn or just finished its performance reviews, then it's probably not the right time to ask for a raise. BUT, there may be exceptions to this. For example, if your organization has just had lay-offs, again the timing may not be right, or alternatively, if you've been doing the job of two people -- due to the recent layoffs -- for a substantial period of time, then you can use this to help build your case).

Build Your Case
If you answered ‘yes’ to the above six questions, now it's time to build your case! 

As you go through questions 1-6 and build your case, position yourself as a team player who exceeds expectations consistently and use the data and the results of your evaluations and/or projects, as well as any praise you've received from others.

Craft Your Conversation
Once you've done your homework and are ready for the meeting, your approach to the conversation could go something like this:

I am thrilled with my performance report! Thank you. It appears that you and the organization are happy with my performance too?

(wait for them to agree!) 

As you can see from the latest report and my prior reports (bring them to share), my performance has consistently been reviewed as outstanding. I'd like to share a few of my wins and achievements (refer to the data you collected from questions 1-6). Additionally, as you know, I've received excellent reports across the board from my team, cross-functional partners . . .  (share quotes)

I hope you'll agree and consider my request for a salary raise that reflects the fact that I'm a top performing employee. Can I count on your support in moving my request up the chain of command?

Final Tip
Don’t get emotional or make threats during the conversation. Stay positive, upbeat, and calm while you use the facts you've compiled to make your case.

Take Note
There are some internal obstacles that may impact your manager's ability to approve your raise, even if you can answer ‘yes’ to questions 1-6.

  1. If the raise is given, will the internal equity of the team be impacted negatively? Organizations like to try to ensure that one employee is not paid significantly more than another for the same level of role.
  2. Are they already paying what is considered to be above the market rate?
  3. Is the department and company hitting revenue goals? If the organization or team is performing significantly below expectations, then it may prove difficult to approve a raise for a team member.

Finally, if you'd like some one-on-one help with this process, I'm always available to help. Simply schedule a time to chat with me by clicking here.


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