How to Ask for a Pay Raise

With the end of the financial year, it's performance review season, and you're anticipating your performance rating and whether that pay raise will go hand in hand with your review. If your self-assessment accurately reflects your performance, you hope that your manager can see that and reward you with both the ranking and the salary increase. Sometimes it hits the mark, and other times it doesn't.

In that case, you're wondering how you can make a case for a pay raise. When was the last time you asked for a pay raise? If your answer was I haven't, or it's been a while, then you're likely. We all value and need money, yet much fear surrounds asking for a higher salary. Either some of us feel awkward about initiating the conversation with our bosses, or we are worried that we might sound greedy or disgruntled.

If this were an ideal world, pay raises would come automatically, and you might never have to ask for one. However, in the real world, pay increases rarely come naturally, even when they’re much deserved. You must understand that asking for a raise is your right. If you are avoiding the discussion with your manager due to your fear or shyness, remember that you are giving up a sizable amount of money.

The secret sauce behind successful pay raise discussions is presenting a valid case supported by facts and examples. While they may not say YES to you immediately, you must go in prepared to make it harder for them to tell a straight NO. Here are a few things you need to remember when making the case to your boss and asking for a raise.

1. Be sure it’s the right time to ask for a raise

Organizations revisit the salaries of their employees every year after the performance review cycle. Based on your performance, you are given a raise/promotion. However, some organizations will not automatically give you a raise. In that case, you if you feel you deserve a raise, you need to lobby to your manager and discuss why your achievements indicate that you deserve a raise. If it has been more than a year since you’ve been granted a pay increase or it has been a very long time since your compensation was set, it is very reasonable to ask for a raise.

2. Know your work, and it's worth

What’s the current market rate for your job title and location? There can be huge differences in salaries based on geographies or the region you are working in. If there is clear evidence you are underpaid compared to others who do similar work in your region, you’ll have an easier time justifying a raise. In case you are already at the top of the salary cone, you will need some additional research and rationale to make your case. Sometimes the websites that analyze salaries may not be completely accurate, because the same work or job title may differ from one organization to another.

Start your salary research on sites like PayScale or Glassdoor, so that you can know your market value beforehand. If, after your thorough research, you still think you are underpaid, it is time you ask for a raise.

3. Use your emotional intelligence

Performance reviews are stressful, regardless of which side of the table one is sitting on. In addition to their daily work, managers also have a lot of work to do to prepare and check your performance and other feedback. So when you approach your manager with your request, remember that your boss is also an employee with emotions as natural as yours. Ensure that you choose the right time to open this discussion. If you set an early meeting, mention your agenda so that your manager is not caught by surprise. It’s also helpful to practice what you want to convey to your manager, not only to gain more confidence but also to make sure you do not sound negative.

If you have won a new client, accomplished a critical project, gone “above and beyond” your usual duties and your manager has been satisfied with your work recently, this is the time to put your cards on the table!

4. Build your case

Most assume that they need to build a comprehensive presentation about why they need a raise. However, your request doesn’t need an elaborate slide presentation. It can be short and sweet. Touch upon legitimate reasons and emphasize why you are important to the company. Ensure that you make your pitch about the company and not just about you. For instance, explain to your manager how your responsibilities have increased or your contributions have improved from the past, and how it has been useful for the organization as well. Keep your case study limited to key points, highlighting your significant accomplishments.

Get what you deserve

Just know that almost everyone is nervous about asking for a raise. That’s only natural. However, it’s also natural to want—and get—what you justly deserve. By doing your research on your worth and itemizing the accomplishments and value you bring to your company and respecting the timing and sensitivity of your manager, you’re sure to raise your prospects of earning that raise and even more of your manager’s respect.

If you ask for a raise and you do not get one, do not worry. Improve your skills, or try learning new technologies. Also, know that getting denied a raise is a good opportunity to ask what it would take to get one in the next performance appraisal cycle. You can always improve and prove your worth to your organization in the next round.

About the Author

Nikita DuggalNikita Duggal

Nikita Duggal holds an honors degree in English language and literature and is working with Simplilearn as a content writer. She is a passionate digital nomad who loves all sorts of writing. In her free time, she is a veteran of poetry and philosophy.

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