A Big Conversation
Asking for a raise might be one of the most nerve-wracking conversations you’ll have in your career. It can be so stress-inducing that many professionals have spent their entire careers avoiding the topic.
However, asking for a raise is completely normal, and an important part of getting your money right. You’re not being greedy or presumptuous by asking. In fact, you might be leaving a ton of money on the table by not speaking up.
Here’s how to ditch the nerves, debunk the taboo, and learn how to navigate one of the most rewarding conversations you’ll have at work. If you want a salary adjustment, promotion, or simply want to ensure you’re compensated fairly for your hard work, let’s walk through the essentials of negotiating a raise.
Timing Is Everything
The first step in negotiating a raise is to make sure you are asking at the right time. There are two ideal times to consider initiating this conversation: when you are doing really well, and when the company is doing really well. Specific events that can provide you leverage when negotiating a raise include:
1. Performance review periods: Timing your request around performance reviews can increase your chances of success since this is a time where you are already discussing your key accomplishments, and achievements over the last year. Initiate the conversation before your review, and make sure you come to the meeting prepared with concrete examples of how you’ve added value to your team and company. To help with this, keep a document that logs your accomplishments, and any praise you received for your work.
2. After accomplishing a significant achievement: You may have increased leverage to negotiate when you’ve just completed a major project, or accomplished something significant that brought value to the company.
3. Improved industry and company health: If your company is thriving or if your industry is experiencing a boost in growth, it may be a great time to discuss adjusting your compensation.
4. During a predetermined review period: Some companies have set times to review salaries and promotions. Every company is different so be sure you know your employer’s guidance.
Preparation Is Key
Before the initial meeting with your manager, make sure you’ve taken time to research, and prepare your case to give yourself the greatest chance of success.
Research the average salary for your role in your industry and location, and ensure you go into the conversation with a range in mind. Also take time to practice your key points, and prepare responses to potential questions. This will help you articulate your value and make your ask with confidence.
Navigating the Conversation
Now that you’re prepared, let’s explore how to navigate the conversation:
1. Scheduling the meeting: Do so in advance. Be mindful of timing and try to choose a time when your manager is not overwhelmed.
2. Opening the conversation: Open the conversation with gratitude, and clearly state your purpose for the meeting.
3. Making your case: Share your contributions to the company, with metrics whenever possible, and how the company has benefited from your work.
4. Closing: Prepare a back-up plan. What will you do if they say no? Are you open to discussing non-monetary benefits? Or is it time for you to move on to another opportunity? Also schedule a follow-up meeting if necessary.
Final Tips: It’s likely that your manager will need time to determine if, and when they can grant your request, since there are usually several people involved in that decision. If you are told that they will get back to you, don’t panic! That is part of the process and to be expected. Simply ensure that you remember to set a follow-up time with them so your request isn’t put on the back burner.
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