‘Tis the Season to Ask for a Raise…Here’s How
With the end of the year fast approaching, supermarket aisles are already brimming with holiday decorations and festive treats. While most people are dreaming of spending a few relaxing days with friends and family, the wise employee recognizes their opportunity to get the raise they are looking for – and maybe even a solid end-of-the-year bonus as well.
If you’re planning on asking for a raise, here are some tips for success.
Talk about how you’ve met your goals and ask for feedback.
If your manager is like most, they’re extremely busy, and might not have noticed all the hard work you put in this year. Most of us are used to being recognized without having to ask for it – remember all those years of school and college? If you did the work, you got a nice shiny A and maybe even recognition for your work. But unfortunately, the working world doesn’t operate like school – sometimes it’s up to you to show your manager how you met – and exceeded – goals. Come to your meeting prepared with examples of accomplished goals your manager might not have even recognized.
It’s also important to demonstrate you’re not growing stagnant or bored by asking for feedback and critique. Although no one likes getting negative feedback, it’s important to know what’s on your manager’s mind when it comes to your performance – this can often help you get in line for a promotion or mitigate potential issues down the line.
Suggest a way you can take on more responsibility
Don’t come into the meeting with your manager simply asking for more responsibility. Instead, proactively keep an eye out for areas where you can step in and take some workload off of your manager. Perhaps while your manager was out sick, you made sure an email campaign continued on schedule. By offering to take on the project full-time under their guidance, with an example of a time you were able to manage it independently, you’re giving your manager the opportunity to delegate better and focus on things they might have been neglecting.
This is also an opportunity to pitch new ideas or projects and why you think they might bring value to the company – a great employee is always looking for ways to improve processes, save time, and improve efficiency.
Bring examples of your accomplishments and where you delivered value
If you aren’t already doing this, keep a document on your computer where you can take note of work accomplishments and recognition you received. Think of this like your work journal – at the end of the year you won’t remember the little things you did or the thankful emails you received from colleagues, but if you save it all in one place you’d be surprised at how much you can accomplish in a year. Keeping track of this is also a great motivator for yourself to continue to do great work. Pull out the big accomplishments for your end of the year review to demonstrate the value you provided.
Share accomplishments often, not just at review time
Receive an email from a colleague thanking you for helping them on something tricky? It’s ok to reply and cc your manager, and in fact, it’s recommended to regularly share your success and accomplishments with your manager, rather than hold on to them for your yearly review. Manager’s like hearing about their employee’s success – as it makes them look good as well. Plus, if you keep your manager in the loop, you never know when they might realize you’re perfect to pull in for a special project.
Focus on why you deserve it (not why you need it).
We all have bills to pay and everyone could certainly use a raise. However, don’t go into a meeting with your manager focused on why you need a raise. Instead, keep the focus on why you deserve it, bringing examples with you.
Practice your pitch and be ready for questions
Practice makes perfect – don’t go into a review without having practiced. Ask a friend to role play with you to practice – or even a mirror works. The point is to practice to the point where you’ll feel comfortable talking about your success and accomplishments over the past year – which can be more challenging than you might realize if you’re a humble person.
Do your research on your role/salary
In any salary or raise negotiation, you have more power than you might realize. It can cost thousands of dollars to replace a valued employee – and typically the company will have to hire at a higher salary than you’re at. If your salary is sitting well-below the industry average, coming to a meeting with figures in hand shows you’ve done your research and know what your skills are worth.
Talk about your future with the company
Managers appreciate and respect loyal employees – no manager looks forward to having to train replacement hires. But a manager would rather lose you to another team, than to another company – as this might allow you to help train your replacement before you move on. If you’re in a larger company with room to move to other departments and roles, it might be a good idea to discuss with your manager opportunities you may be interested in, and how you can qualify to make the move with their help. Chances are, your manager doesn’t want to stay in their same role for the long haul and might be more willing than you expect to mentor you.
Be ready for “no”
No matter how convincing you might be, there’s a lot of reasons you might get no for an answer. Perhaps the company doesn’t have budgets for raises or there’s some other reason they can’t offer a raise at this point. Be prepared for what you’ll do in this situation because resigning on the spot isn’t a carefully thought out plan, though it might be tempting. Instead, if you’re unhappy with their answer, you might decide this is a good time to update your resume.
What advice do you have for successfully negotiating a pay raise?