You’ve been in your job position for several years and have worked hard and performed well. However, prices continue to rise, you have a growing family, children in college, and the paycheck is no longer adequate as it is. After reflecting on the years of dedicated work with the company you have decided that it is time to ask for an increase in salary. Here are some tips for preparing for that pay raise meeting with your boss that will increase your chances of getting a yes.
First, do some research on your company’s financial situation; if they are profitable, it could be a good time to ask for a raise. If your company is downsizing, then it would certainly not be the appropriate time.
While doing research on your company’s financial situation also spend time learning who will be deciding on whether you receive a raise or not. Often it is your supervisor’s decision, but not always the case; it could by your supervisor’s boss. It could be a joint effort by HR and your supervisor. It is important to know who you have to sell this pay raise to so that you can craft your presentation for the right audience.
Next, take time to do some research on what the pay rates are for someone in your position in other companies. Reach out to others you know in other companies doing the same work, or look at professional associations since they often do salary surveys. Payscale.com is a site that can provide information on what the going rate is for your industry. Trade journals and the U.S Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook are also good places to start. Recruiters and local representatives of professional associations can be good sources for this information too. Also sites such as Glassdoor.com where former and current employees can go and anonymously post their pay can be helpful.
Care needs to be taken in this as salaries can vary dependent on local conditions and on whether you are looking at the private or public sector. Visit websites that have cost of living calculators to help figure things out. There is still some room for error, but this puts you in the ballpark and provides you with valuable information. Knowing what the market allows for someone with your years of experience can help in making the case for your pay raise.
You should also evaluate your own current performance. If you have just been recognized for your outstanding work and contributions, then now might be a good time to ask. If you have made some mistakes, especially if they have attracted your supervisor’s attention, now is probably not a good time.
Related to your job performance keep in mind that most supervisors hate doing performance appraisals. Offer to help your supervisor when he/she is working on yours. Send them a memo or email detailing your key accomplishments over the past year.
After you have all of this information, then prepare yourself for a meeting with your supervisor. Be ready to list your accomplishments and how they benefited the company and department – cost savings, improved productivity, improved safety, letters of praise from customers, etc. Also discuss any additional responsibilities, such as being the safety person or trainer that you may have taken on in addition to your job, especially if they involve supervising more people. Do all of this, but keep it brief. If you go too long your supervisor will become more interested in going on to his next meeting than in really listening to what you have been saying. Once you have all of this information and a presentation prepared then practice your brief presentation, either in front of a mirror or with someone you trust.
Finally, set up your meeting with your supervisor. Do not take he/she by surprise, let them know in advance what the meeting is about. Surprises tend to make supervisors more likely to say no. You also need to look at the timing on this. If you have been with the company less than a year the odds are against you getting the raise. There needs to be some time for you to build up your expertise in your job and to show what you can do.
If you have received an outside job offer and decide to use it as a negotiating tool in order to get an increase, be prepared to leave. This can work for some companies, but it can also backfire.
Also, avoid telling the supervisor that if you do not get the raise that you will quit unless you really mean it, they may take you up on that.
Another tactic to avoid is complaining that another co-worker at the same level is making more than you, it comes across as unprofessional and petty. Especially since you do not know all the details of what the co-worker might be doing, how well, what sort of education and background he might have and many other such factors. Besides, you want to keep the focus on you – what you have done and accomplished and how you are benefitting the company – and not on another person. You and your relationship with the company are center stage here, don’t share that spotlight.
If you do not get the raise, take it professionally and without a fuss. Instead ask your supervisor what you can do to get one the next time. It might also be worth checking out to see if instead of a raise you can get some perks such as a car allowance, better job title, extra vacation or personal days.
While getting a pay raise is never a sure thing, learning how to ask for an increase in salary maximizes your chance of getting a yes instead of a no.