HOW TO ASK YOUR BOSS FOR A RAISE
It is unlikely that anyone would ever say, “I want to do the same work for less money” — most of us would love to make more money for the work we do.
A few companies still do annual reviews and give raises based on performance. But many companies have scrapped the annual review altogether, leaving employees hoping for that random announcement or even a promise of a raise.
Unless you are the boss or you are self-employed, that means you have to ask the boss if you want to increase your salary — an idea that can generate nervous reactions in some of us.
But asking for a raise doesn’t have to be a nerve-wracking as trying to sing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl when you don’t know the words.
Misty Watkins, of Georgia, is one of those women who has never asked her bosses for a raise.
“Mostly because I do get nervous when money in general is discussed,” Watkins said. “Whether it be pay rate or raises, personal household bills, whatever it may be I just get nervous. It’s not that I feel that my job performance doesn’t warrant a raise, money just stresses me out. I think that some of my past experiences throughout my childhood with watching my mom struggle with finances, and then an earlier adulthood struggle I experienced, as well, make the stress level of it all go up.”
Kim Smart, also of Georgia, approached her boss about her salary. The response was not what she wanted to hear.
“I asked to be put on salary, which I more than deserved and was denied,” Smart said. “I gave a very convincing argument but the boss claimed that he couldn’t afford it, even though I was never out sick and worked my tail off. It really hurt that he didn’t value me as much as I thought.”
No one wants to be rejected when asking for a raise, especially when you think you deserve it.
Here are a few tips that can help you successfully get more dollars in your paycheck.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Research other positions similar to yours, Smart said, but don’t ask your coworkers. You can go online and find information as to what companies are paying. A few examples are career-advice.monster.com, glassdoor.com, indeed.com/salariesresearch. Asking for a six figure salary when companies are paying only $50,000 for your job skills and position is a bit unrealistic and is more than likely will not happen. Research your own company as much as you can. It’s much harder to know if small businesses are having financial woes but if you work for a larger company, there may be information online as to how they are doing financially. You are more likely to get rejected if the company is having money issues.
PLAN YOUR APPROACH
Once you have the information, determine how you will approach your boss. Approaching him or her in the break room while they get their morning coffee is not likely to be very effective. You want a private audience where you can present your case. Ask to schedule a meeting at a time that is convenient for your boss.
CATCH THE BOSS ON A GOOD DAY
We have all heard the old adage “timing is everything” and that is certainly true when it comes to asking for a raise. It’s probably not a good time if you know your company is in the middle of layoffs or financial trouble or if a board meeting or other event is scheduled for that day. Catching your boss on a bad day — like the day of his or her colonoscopy or dental appointment — could diminish or eliminate your chances for success.
LEAVE PERSONAL PROBLEMS AT THE DOOR
Focus on your work, not your personal problems. You may need your raise because of an illness in your family, mounting bills or another need. The boss is likely to hear these kinds of stories all the time. What will get his or her attention is how you have benefited the company. Have you completed a project or task that resulted in additional review for the company? Have you won awards or recognition outside of the workplace? Are you always on time? Are you well respected by your coworkers? Build up a list of how you make a difference to the company, not why you personally need the raise.
BE HONEST AND KIND
Don’t be threatening, manipulative or dishonest. If you tell your boss you have a better offer from another company and use it as a bargaining tool, you may get surprised when he or she tells you “Good luck in your new position.” An even worse bargaining tool is threatening to expose some wrong you perceive is happening in the company. This tactic is not likely to get you a raise and you may even find yourself looking for a new job.
Don’t compare yourself to another employee or even the boss. You may be doing the work of two people and maybe you cover for the boss from time to time. Focus on your own work and achievements, not what others are doing or not doing.
No matter how much you prepare and no matter how good of an employee you are, you may still get turned down when you ask for a raise. Don’t get discourage by the word “no.”
Ask the boss to clarify. Is it due to financial issues with the company? Is it about your work? If so, what can you do to increase your chances to ask for a raise?
At this point, you need to evaluate your next step. Do you want to stay with your company and approach your boss again at another time? Or is it time to move on and find a job with more money?
Doing the research and setting goals can help you decide your next career move.
This article was written by Kim Sloan, contributor for The Daily Clutch.