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How to Ask for a Raise – and Receive it

Posted by: Emma Berdanier on November 19th, 2019

It’s no secret that every employee wants to earn more money. But starting the conversation with your boss to get a raise can be a daunting task. Saying the wrong thing or making even the smallest of missteps can set you back. This setback may not only impact your chances of getting a raise now but in the future too. Your boss takes everything into account when you ask for a raise. Everything matters, from your job performance to your tone of voice and the language you use.

Preparing for and Navigating the Conversation

Below, find a list of proven tactics that will help you navigate this conversation with your boss. They will help you succeed in earning the raise you deserve. Following these tactics may not guarantee you a raise, but they will put you in your boss’s good graces. And once you’re there, future raises will come.

  1. It’s All About Timing. Plan your conversation based around your boss’s schedule. Don’t schedule it when they return from vacation or when they’re preparing for a big meeting. Adhere to their needs so that when you meet with them they are in the best possible mindset.

  2. Schedule the Conversation. Be sure to set the conversation for a specific date and time at least a week in advance. You want to give both your boss and yourself ample time to prepare. Put it as an item on both of your calendars so that it isn’t forgotten. When you schedule the meeting make sure to be clear about the purpose of it. Tell your boss, “I’d like to schedule a meeting to discuss my compensation,” and go from there.

  3. Be Able to Justify Your Raise. Don’t back up your raise with your achievements and work ethic, research the industry. Use a website that tracks average salaries based on job title and location. Go further to explore what different levels of experience earn people. This will give you data to back up your request for a raise to your boss.

  4. Give a Range. Don’t ask for a flat pay increase. Most of the time, a boss will turn this down or negotiate lower than you’d like. Rather, ask for a salary increase within a certain range. Make the low end a significant pay increase. The high end should still be reasonable.

  5. Begin with Your Requested Raise. Don’t start with small talk or relaying all your accomplishments to your boss. Begin by asking for the raise you want, then work to justify it.

  6. Keep the Conversation Open. Don’t ask yes or no questions. This gives your boss an easy opportunity to deny you a raise. Instead, ask open-ended questions. These allow for a discussion to form rather than a flat answer.

  7. Don’t Make it About You. Yes, asking for a raise is about you as the employee, but you can’t phrase it that way. If you phrase it as being about the company you’ll have a better shot of getting what you’re asking for. Use ‘we’ language to signify that you’re a part of the company team and you’re committed to remaining a part of it. This will make your request more palatable to your boss.

  8. Rephrase Your Achievements. List quantifiable achievements. Be specific and use data to back up what you’ve contributed to the team. And be sure to focus on how you’ve improved the company’s bottom line.

  9. Confirm Your Commitment. Present yourself as an engaged employee. You want to project that you’re satisfied with your job and company. You’re committed to staying there. Raises are often given out to improve employee retention. Research proves that happy employees perform better at their jobs. Highlight your commitment to put yourself in a good position to get the raise you’re looking for.

What if You Don’t Get the Raise You Requested?

If you follow these steps and don’t gain a higher compensation, don’t get discouraged. There are more things you can gain an increase in compensation. If the company doesn’t have the money to pay you more, negotiate for other incentives instead. Ask for remote workdays or a more flexible schedule. Even inquire about gaining more vacation days. While these are not the same as an increase in compensation, they can still improve your quality of life.

Also, be sure to set a time to revisit your conversation. Schedule this for some time in the future. Think six months to a year out. This gives you time to prove your value so you’re in a better position to earn that raise.


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