Getting the Raise You Deserve

Published Tuesday, October 19, 2010 1:38 PM

Had a good year at work? Beat sales expectations or closed a big deal? Or perhaps you streamlined operations to achieve effective cost cutting or took on new responsibilities. If you've had a stellar year at work, it's time to ask for a raise. Even in these challenging economic times, negotiating a raise is possible given the right timing and presentation.

If You Don't Ask, You Don't Get

We'll begin with what should be obvious. If you want a raise you're going to have to ask for it. Too many people make the mistake of assuming their contributions will be recognized and rewarded. Not so. It's the squeaky wheel that gets the grease so get ready to ask for the raise you deserve.

How to Ask

When we say raise, we're not talking about an annual cost of living bump but rather a sizeable reward tied to your enhanced performance and measurable impact on the company's bottom line. If you think you deserve more money for a better-than-average performance, you're going to need to prove it.

To begin, make a list of your accomplishments. Support the list with as many details as possible (i.e. money raised or saved, the nature of the extra hours or responsibilities you've taken on). You might wish to print out e-mails with compliments from superiors or customers. Consider bringing copies of reports or other documents that help spell out your case in black and white.

Educate yourself about commensurate salaries for your position and in your field. Demonstrating to your boss that you're underpaid in your role will help make the case that an increase is merited. Finally, leave your personal finances out of the discussion. People get paid for their contributions, not because they have a big mortgage or a new baby arriving.

When to Ask

Typically, raise requests are pegged to your annual year-end review. After all, this is a time when you're accomplishments are evaluated and your contributions closely examined. If your annual review isn't in the offing, you can still approach your boss after completing a big project or successfully executing a new directive. The key is to ask for a raise at a time when you can best showcase your contributions.

Also, schedule time with your boss rather than waylaying her or tacking the request on to the agenda of an existing meeting. Give your boss time to hear your case when they aren't rushed or distracted.

No Doesn't Have to Be the End

Sometimes, no matter how persuasively you make your case, your boss will turn down your request for a raise. Try not to let the conversation end with a "no."  See if you can get a bump in title with a promise to revisit the issue of a raise in six months. Or negotiate for extra perks such as vacation time or a better workspace. Benefits are often more easily dispensed than cash.

Finally, don't threaten your boss or issue an ultimatum. If you take the stance "I need a raise or I quit" you may find yourself shown the door. If the conversation doesn't go your way, try to remain neutral and extract a promise to reconsider the topic down the road. This frees you up to assess if you are content to stay for the time being or if its time to hit the road for greener pastures.


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