When you accepted your current job, you were prepared with data to defend the salary you were demanding.
You researched your market value with sites like Glassdoor.
You came up with a figure that you felt was reasonable and, at last, your boss agreed.
What about now?
Not feeling the love?
That initial agreement might feel like a distant memory and, as you approach the end of the calendar year, now may be the time to re-visit that discussion.
In today’s business environment, most employees get small, cost-of-living based annual merit increases to their salary. And, managers will assume that is acceptable unless you make a strong case otherwise. Most employees take the small, annual raises and move along – only privately grumbling about being underpaid later.
The fact is, talking about salary is not easy – not during the interview process or if you are feeling undervalued in your current role. Further complicating matters, asking your boss for a raise can be dicey if you’re not prepared to do so.
If you feel ready to ask your boss for a raise this year, we’d suggest that you follow three proven tips.
Asking for a Raise Tip #1: Seek Data BEFORE the Meeting
Before you set up a meeting with your boss to talk about a raise, take a moment to objectively assess your value to your immediate team and the company. You may even solicit candid feedback from a colleague you respect (and who will be honest with you).
If that self-reflection validates your skills as critical to the success of the project or company, then pull the market salary data for your job title – but don’t stop there.
Not only should you research salaries for your exact job in your precise market, search for articles about trends in salaries for such positions in the industry. If the salary trend of your job is downward, then pushing for a raise is made more difficult.
When you have the data, it’s time to set up your face-to-face meeting with your boss.
Asking for a Raise Tip #2: Clearly Understand Your Boss’s Opinion of your value.
While the goal of the sit-down with your boss is to garner a raise, you can use this meeting for so much more – don’t miss that chance. After thanking your boss for meeting and making your case for more money, be quick to ask for their candid feedback to the arguments you’ve posed and the market data you’ve found to support your claim.
Be sure to prepare for anything that your boss might react with – even anger. Typically, managers are coached to separate a pay rate discussion and a performance review. After all, your boss might value your work and respect your efforts but be unable to offer you more money due to other factors (like overall company rules or presence of other decision-makers).
Resist the urge to be disappointed if your boss does not give you a definitive answer today.
At the end of the meeting, even if you did not come to an immediate resolution, you should be able to decipher what your boss feels is grounds for earning a raise – whether that windfall comes as the calendar turns this year or in the future.
Asking for a Raise Tip #3: Be Accountable and Follow Up
At the end of the meeting, push for dual accountability by suggesting deadlines that makes sense. If your boss asks for time to assess your proposal, push for an answer in a time frame that you both can tolerate.
If, at the end, your request has been considered and immediately denied, ask for ongoing follow up meetings throughout the next year for professional development. Make sure that your boss walks away from the meeting understanding that your goal is to provide more value for the project or company, not simply to get a few extra bucks on your paycheck.
No matter the outcome – more money or sticking with the standard, marginal increase – the process of asking for a raise forces you to think about your own, personal value proposition.
If the daily value proposition you’ve built is strong, your salary should reflect it.
If your value proposition can use some work, start rebuilding it now – next year is right around the corner!
Need help finding (or enhancing) your value in the job market? Contact Goliath today!