Have you been stuck with the same pay scale for a year now? It’s time to talk to the boss and ask for a raise. But don’t just barge in into your boss’ office and demand for an increase; you need to justify it.
We’ll give you five tips on how to do this without being seen as arrogant or unrealistic.
But first, keep in mind that asking for a raise indicates a person who knows how to put value in things. Not asking for it—or passively waiting for it—reflects someone who is a pushover, a softy that no employers would like to place in a leadership position.
In fact, if you don’t ask for a raise, you might end up a statistic that got a meager 3% raise based on the average salary increase in the U.S. last year, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.
So don’t undermine your skills. But don’t push the situation, too. These tips work for employees who believe they have quality skills but are underpaid (most of us feel like that, anyway).
This is a powerful mind shift. By seeing yourself as a professional, you start to see the whole company structure as a business that your skills help to run. You see yourself as a partner to this business.
Instead of looking like you’re begging for a raise, you focus the negotiation on what you bring to the table and how much the company can pay for those things to run the business.
You’re stepping over the divide between employees and upper management by actually negotiating how both parties (you and the company) can work better.
By giving yourself a stake in the company’s welfare, you become proactive and result-oriented, two things that your boss will remember during salary negotiation.
You’re the sum of many skills and each of those has a value. It’s easier to appreciate your value if your boss can visualize what he’s getting from you.
Identify where you’re really good at. For example, if you’re into sales, you can list your core skills, such as: selling, creating pitches, and public speaking.
A subset of skills also works. For instance, don’t just say you’re good at selling. Break it down into: ability to identify strengths and weakness in a market; classifying types of customers; developing events that attract customers; or other critical tasks needed to meet your team’s sales quota.
Often, these qualities are more important in the eyes of senior management. These include leadership, people skills, loyalty, and a can-do attitude. Other non-core but critical traits are: crisis management skills, having a creative mind, and ability to work under pressure.
Do you have these qualities? Make sure your boss knows that you know these qualities are prime traits and companies are known to pay a premium for them.
One excellent way to ask for a raise—one that you can look the boss in the eye—is to point to the fact that you’ve accomplished a major task. The more it has a direct impact on your company’s sales or survival, the better bargain that you have in your hand.
Take stock of your significant achievements for the year and be ready to present these matter-of-factly (don’t brag) during your meeting with the boss. Your achievement should not be something that’s expected of you, but an extra mile that you did for the company. They could be surpassing the company’s sales target by a big margin or a product launching that generated a record media mileage.
This is a delicate line that you should thread on, just keep in mind not to assume a threatening tone. Rather, be honest that you’re getting an offer elsewhere and that it can really improve your life. This approach has two benefits: it sends a signal to upper management that you need help to better your personal finances and that you’re transparent, someone who can be trusted.
Asking for a raise doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get it. When your request is turned down, don’t feel upset; rather, ask for the reasons.
But don’t settle for a flat NO from your boss. Bargain for adjustments. Lower the raise scale, settle for a postponement, or suggest a bonus instead. Think of other incentives that the company can easily give you. Perhaps extra vacation days or flexible working hours. If you’re using your company’s products or services, you can ask for a barter deal. For instance, if you work in the hospitality industry, free rooms or plane tickets are not such a bad idea.
We’re all a salesman whatever our profession. We sell ourselves and that’s best exemplified when we ask for a raise. Are you under selling yourself? When you know how to put the right price for your head, more companies are likelier to hunt it down.
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