How to ask for a raise

22nd Jul 2016
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Asking for a raise can be one of the most awkward situations you face at work. Although you may be sure that you have worked hard enough and truly deserve more money for your contribution, it is a difficult request to verbalise. Most of us are scared about the humiliation that would arise if the answer is no. But like many other risks in life, this is one that is worth taking, for the simple reason that you deserve it. Do not let the fear or awkwardness of discussing money with your boss hold you back in your career. Instead, endure this short-term discomfort to reap some huge long-term benefits.

Image Credits: Shutterstock
Image Credits: Shutterstock

Make sure that your case is genuine and realistic. Are you a top performer? Have you acquired new skills? Or, are you being offered a new job that is promising to pay you better for the same set of responsibilities? This infographic may help you figure out if you are ready to ask for a raise. Once you have made up your mind, follow these tips to ask for a raise the right way and get it:

Do your research

Arm yourself with ample research to back up your request. Know about your company’s pay structure and compare it with those prevailing in the industry. Where does your present salary stand in comparison to the market rate? These questions will give you an idea on which to base your expectant figure.

Time it right

According to a LinkedIn survey, January, June and July are the months that most raises are handed out. In India, it is seen that promotions and raises are given in the month of April, which is when the fiscal year begins for most companies. So check the pattern your company follows and time your request at least three weeks ahead of the promotion season. Be in tune with your company’s financial position as well. Do not go to your boss asking for money more if they are in the middle of a cost-cutting drive or if they are laying off employees.

Come up with a range

Don’t be vague in your request. You need to be precise and sure about what you are expecting from your boss. Have a number in mind and make sure that you have enough research to back it up with. Be realistic in your request. Making an atrocious quote will not just lead to rejection of your offer, it will also reflect badly on your judgment and may affect the way your boss allocates responsibilities to you in the future. Understand that you are negotiating here and come up with a range that is acceptable to you. A study conducted at Columbia University suggests that quoting a range actually increases your chances of getting the raise compared to going with a single number.

List your achievements

This, too, is part of the research you do. Take time to list out your achievements in the last few months or since your last raise. This will help you make a good case for your raise. Specificity is again the key here. Don’t be vague. Articulate clearly how your efforts have brought change in the organisation. Quote numbers or percentages to prove this. List out the new skills you have acquired in this time and explain how they gel well with the company’s values. Mention if you have taken up additional responsibilities or mentored employees who are junior to you. Go through these tips to help you do this effectively.

Be prepared for rejection

Although your request might be backed with facts and you have performed your best, it is quite possible that you may have to hear no for an answer. Be prepared for it. Do not feel crestfallen and dejected if your request is turned down. Instead, have a backup plan ready. Try negotiating for other benefits like flexible work schedules, a new and better work title or more paid vacations in lieu of the denied raise. Also, discuss the criteria on which decisions regarding raises are made with your boss and be clear about his/her expectations from you. This will help you work better towards a raise in the future.

Despite how the conversation goes, try to end on a positive note. However, do not stay away from making a move to ask for a raise just because of the fear of rejection. Know your performance and skills, assess if you deserve the raise, come up with what you would be happy to settle with and vocalise your request. Be confident and you will find that it isn’t as awkward or intimidating as you imagined it to be.

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