Can’t remember the last time you got a raise? Or at least a raise that actually felt like a raise?
Not a surprise. For many, the days of the automatic yearly raise have pretty much dried up. Particularly for managers.
Now if you want a raise that will be meaningful, you’re going to have to … GULP … ask for it.
Bet that made your mouth go dry. Asking for a raise can be intimidating and nerve-racking.
But it shouldn’t be.
You’ve earned it. You deserve it. So just do it!
But to make the process easier on yourself and increase your odds of being successful, put this 11-step formula to work:
1) Prepare For Your Meeting
Of course you would never just walk into your boss’s office and demand a raise, because you know that doesn’t work.
You need to prepare, and set up a formal meeting. Treat it as an important business meeting. After all, it is a business meeting – YOUR business.
2) Prove Your Worth
Think of yourself as an investment. For your boss to give you a raise, it has to make sense financially. In other words, his investment – you – has to pay off.
Show him how it has paid off.
Look at all aspects of your job: Are you good at sales or reading the market? Are you creative and an “out of the box” thinker? Are you a problem solver? Do you work well under pressure? Do you garner loyalty from your staff? What does your department add to the company’s bottom line?
Then research what people in similar positions make. Determine your salary range for your geographic area using sites like getraised.com, glassdoor.com or payscale.com. Also talk to friends you have in the industry, and look at salary surveys and cost of living comparisons.
From that research come up with a realistic raise range.
3) Track Your Accomplishments
Have you done anything since your last raise that saved the company money or made the company money? Have you pitched in to help out other departments? If so, document all of it.
And keep track of project results, praise from other managers and executives, and any other positive messages.
As a manager, your boss may not be aware of all of your accomplishments. Give her documentation she can use to evaluate your performance – and that will be available to the final decision maker, if it’s not her.
4) Practice Your Pitch
You don’t have to make your pitch to family or friends, but you might want to practice saying it out loud to yourself in the mirror.
What you’re listening for is weaknesses in your pitch. If you hear any, rethink them or add evidence that proves your point.
And make 100% sure all of your points are based on your work and outcomes, not on things outside of work.
5) Be Flexible
Sure, you have an amount in your head of what it’ll take to make you happy, but let your boss make the first offer. Then take time to consider it. It is in the ballpark? If so, consider making a reasonable counter offer.
6) Be Positive And Straightforward – Not Aggressive
Remember: “You can catch more bees with honey than vinegar!”
Start the meeting on a positive note, such as “Running the sales department is a challenging and rewarding job that I take a lot of pride in. Recently, we …” and then review your and your team’s accomplishments.
Don’t go into the meeting demanding things. That’ll put your boss on the defensive. You’ve probably been on that end before and you know it isn’t pleasant.
Also, asking questions, like “Don’t you agree the sales department is doing great and that I’m due for a raise?” isn’t a good idea. It’s too easy for the response to be “No.”
And making idle threats is dangerous. What are you going to do if you get called out on them?
Even if your boss is less-than-pleasant, being diplomatic and well-prepared will get you further than ultimatums.
7) Exercise Patience
Don’t expect an answer right away. Let your boss take it all in and mull it over. It’ll give him time to review all of the accomplishments you laid out for him.
8) Be Strategic About Your Timing
Asking for a raise during your annual review may not always be the best time. Especially, if your company does annual reviews for all employees at the same time. You’ll be under pressure to review your staff, and so will your boss.
Experts say the best time to bring up a raise is when you take on new responsibilities, after you’ve completed a successful project or after your department has just made the company a lot of money.
It should go without saying but if your company is going through a rough period, it’s probably not the best time to ask for a raise.
9) Look Beyond Salary
Sure, most people would like to make more money, but if it’s not in the budget right now consider other types of compensation.
You could ask for additional vacation time, flex-time, professional development, tuition reimbursement, better/higher title, bigger office, bonuses, stock options, etc.
10) Reveal Your Future Goals
Let your boss in on future goals you have for your team/department, as well as yourself.
Forward-thinking leaders are a big plus for businesses. Show you aren’t just concerned with the here and now, but are eager to embrace future growth.
11) Weigh The Outcomes Of Leveraging A Job Offer
Excellent managers/supervisors are often pursued by other companies. So if you have another job offer put your cards on the table … BUT ONLY if you’re willing to take the new job.
If the offer isn’t 100% worth it to you, then don’t try to use it to get more money!
Reason: You might have to take the offer if your company can’t match it, or if they call your bluff.
It’s true that losing an experienced manager is a costly process, but matching the offer may not be in the cards/budget at this point in time! And some companies are philosophically opposed to counter-offers.
So know that going in and weigh the outcomes of your situation carefully.
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As an experienced manager/supervisor, do you have any advice to share on how to ask for a raise or securing one? If so, please add your comments below.
Angela Ono says
Tips on this article are helpful info. Thank you!
Renee Cocchi says
I’m glad you found the article useful!
If your company offers youa counter offer, are you sure you want to stay. Why did it take you leaving to get an increase? Didn’t you deserve it in the first place.
Renee Cocchi says
Good question Jean! However, not all companies are generous until they’re forced to be. But you are right. In that case, do you really want to continue to work for a company like that? On the other hand, maybe they counter with something besides money, like extra paid time off, flexible schedule, etc. It’s something to think about.
Rachel C. says
Good article with practical tips!
(I did find it interesting how you referenced “him” as a boss on a few occasions though! Why are bosses mostly portrayed as men? )
Renee Cocchi says
Thank you Rachel. In my professional experience I’ve only ever had one female boss. I guess that’s why I tend to refer to bosses as men. But I’ll keep that in mind for future articles.