Asking for a pay rise is one of the most difficult things an employee can do. What tips do you have for making this easier and for getting the pay rise?
So where do you start?
I think we would all agree that walking into your bosses office and saying “I need a pay rise” is not the right way. A little like when a child tells their parents “I need more pocket money”, it will generally be answered with “Oh, ok, so why do you need more and why should I pay you more.” Let’s face it, as humans we don’t like to be asked for more money, so how do you go about asking for a pay rise and ensuring you get the pay rise?
The first place is to draw up the facts on why you are worth more money. Ask yourself, what is the current rate for your role and how do you compare? How much additional salary are you looking for? Are you asking for a reasonable pay rise? What have you done since your last pay rise that you feel warrants the additional salary? Ensure you have a list of things where you have gone the extra mile, shown initiative, helped support and grow the wider team.
You also need to consider things to avoid when asking for a pay rise, remember this meeting is about YOU not anyone else. Don’t justify your raise because a colleague earns the same, don’t belittle other roles and definitely don’t threaten to quit if your demands aren’t met.
Ensure you keep your boss on your side, so when you set a meeting to discuss your pay rise, make sure it is at a time that they will be least stressed. What does their diary look like for the rest of the day and week. If there is an impending board meeting or new client pitch, it maybe best to avoid that week. After all you want the right answer for you and so your timing needs to be best. If your boss likes to know the content of a meeting then be up front about why you are meeting, they may also wish to do their homework, it may help to get a decision at the end of the meeting.
Once you have set out your request, then be quiet, it’s hard but let your boss take in your words and digest before they respond, and when they do respond do NOT interrupt them. This is a business meeting and you want the right results.
If your boss declines your request, then listen to the reasons why and ask for feedback, it maybe that the company is not in a position to offer any pay rise so take this on board and make a date for another meeting some point in the future. Keep your composure, a tearful employee does not give the impression of an employee deserving of a pay rise, leave your personal plea out of the meeting, they are not overly concerned about your need to buy a new car, holiday etc.
If your boss agrees to a pay rise but not to the full level you have requested, then accept and ask for the feedback on why the full amount is not agreeable. You may have asked for more money than your job title currently allows, which will be set by HR, so accept this information.
Remember whatever happens, do not make any threats to leave if they do not agree to the pay rise. This is NOT the actions of a loyal, hard working employee.
In summary, do your research, set up a meeting, be professional and remain calm. Close the meeting with a hand shake and composure no matter what the outcome is.
Needless to say, any conversation relating to pay should be approached carefully. It can be a sensitive matter for both sides. People can easily work themselves into a state before knocking on their manager’s door to broach the subject. As such, the request for a pay rise can sometimes stem out of a feeling of dissatisfaction and frustration. Emotions can get in the way and throw you off course if you’re not careful… and you can’t be as rationale or as effective a communicator if you’re in a flux.
For me, the best way to secure a pay rise that reflects your responsibility is to prove you’re doing the job well. That’s not to say that one should go above and beyond the call of duty just to be able to justify the conversation. However, there is a lot to be said for believing in your own self-worth and for pro-actively showcasing your contribution to a company, months before asking the question. If you’re already demonstrating value, it’s a far easier conversation. What’s more, in those cases, the question comes from a more positive place. And, one way or another, positivity tends to reap its own rewards.
It’s important to spend time reflecting on why you deserve a pay rise. Sometimes people approach these conversations with the rationale that they need a pay rise for personal reasons. It isn’t an employer’s job to fund personal lives. The same can be said for requesting a pay rise with the reason that someone else in the company is earning more for a similar role. They call it the ‘green eyed monster’ for a reason – jealousy never works out that well! Envy shouldn’t be a contributing factor. If you’ve earned a pay rise, then making comparisons shouldn’t enter the equation.
Another thing to avoid is benchmarking your role against other businesses. If other organisations pay more, then that might be because so many other factors may play a part. Job titles rarely mean the same thing from one company to another, for one thing. Secondly, you’ll never know the ins and outs of how another businesses work so it’s not wise to compare yourselves to others.
Most businesses have an annual pay review. You should use this opportunity to say; ‘this is what I’ve delivered, this is how I’ve contributed, and this is what my potential contribution is.’