On the list of things you’d like to do, asking for a raise is probably up there with getting your teeth pulled and shopping for a new dishwasher.
Of course, sometimes it’s a necessary evil. So if you’re looking to boost your pay packet this year, take some advice from some of the world’s leading HR specialists and managers on how to ensure you pocket what you’re worth in 2017.
Don’t Count Down The Days
If raises are usually discussed in your annual review, it can be tempting to avoid an awkward conversation until you’re sat in the meeting room – but by this point, it’s probably too late: “Start talking to your boss about getting a raise three to four months in advance as that’s when they decide the budget,” says Suzanne Lucas, who spent 10 years in corporate human resources before founding the blog Evil HR Lady.
If you’ve already laid the groundwork by presenting your case for a raise, your boss won’t be surprised to discuss handing you a bigger share of the pie come the review.
Targets can often be set without measurable results, but in order to make your case you’ll need to show clear evidence that you’ve been hitting them. Dr Danielle Harlan, founder of The Center for Advancing Leadership and Human Potential, suggests asking for recommendations on how you can improve in your current role.
“Do this three months in advance of when you would like to ask for the raise (and in the same meeting as your initial raise conversation),” says Harlan. “That way you have time to implement the feedback and demonstrate that you have hit the targets set.”
Working Hard Or Hardly Working?
There’s an old adage that you should dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Well, this is true of your work ethic, too.
If you’re looking for a raise or promotion because you’re bored, don’t just sit and wait for something to come along and stretch you. By solving problems and working to the level of your superiors, you’re demonstrating that you’re ready for a promotion – and a raise.
Jenna Tanenbaum, the New York-based entrepreneur behind smoothie business Green Blender advises that you understand the core strategy of your organisation, ask lots of hard questions and align your priorities with that of the company: “If you do all of those things, you’ll be running the show in no time.”
If that sounds like too much hard work, then stop right there. Everyone wants to earn more money. Saying you’d like a raise because you want to go on holiday/buy those Gucci loafers/your rent has gone up is basically like getting out your begging bowl. It will undermine your future attempts to negotiate, so stick to proving your worth.
Blow Your Own Trumpet
Braggadocio is often seen as a negative trait (unless you’re Kanye West), but humbly keeping your accomplishments to yourself is not the way to a financial boost. Kim Mullaney, executive vice president at Monster, says: “Doing a great job and working a lot of hours aren’t enough to warrant a promotion or raise. You need to demonstrate how you’ve gone above and beyond to add value to your team and organisation.”
Shout your wins from the rooftops (or forward that email from a happy client) and your case will be much easier to make. And if possible, add some numbers in. Elana Lyn Gross of Forbes adds: “Numbers are very convincing, include statistics and measurable data wherever possible. Instead of saying you doubled monthly sales, say that you grew monthly sales by 50 per cent, a difference of £20,000.”
Of course, we’d all like to double our salaries, but before you go in all cash blazing, conducting a bit of research can help you get a realistic increase. Use sites like PayScale, Glassdoor and Salary.com to find out the market rate for your role, and keep it specific.
Researchers at Columbia Business School found that it’s best to give a precise number, and that the average raise is between one and five per cent.
Practise Makes Perfect
It can be at best, unnatural, and at worst, cringeworthy, to practise a speech in the mirror. However, if you’ve rehearsed what you want to say, you won’t forget any vital information when it comes down to it.
As Harlan says: “After role-playing the part of a resistant boss, having the actual conversation will be infinitely easier.” So get over the cringe-factor and say it out loud.
Don’t Leave Empty Handed
If the meeting doesn’t end the way you’d hoped, then there’s still a positive to you having bit the bullet – it’s the perfect opportunity to ask how you guarantee it next time. By arranging concrete milestones and having a goal to work toward, it will help motivate you and give you something to hold your boss to account for.
Charlie Harary, senior director of capital markets at RXR Real Estate, says: “Asking for a raise isn’t easy, but greatness never is. Don’t push too hard but don’t be a pushover. Strike that balance, and make your case. Isn’t that what the business world is all about?”