How to ask for a raise in 4 steps

November 28, 2011 — Leave a comment

Do you know how to ask for a raise  As the economy starts to pick back up, many people will start looking elsewhere for more money. As I explained in “How to be a Consultant“, the work world has changed, but many of us will continue to work longer term for the same company.

What steps should you take to ask for a raise? I interviewed my Mother-in-Law, Martha, who just happens to be a HR professional with 30 years of experience! She has been through her fair share of these conversations and offers us some great advice on how to ask for a raise.

To be successful asking for a raise, you need to be prepared. Follow these four steps to ask for a raise:

1. Let the boss know you want to talk about compensation

You shouldn’t surprise your boss with a serious conversation such as asking for a raise without warning. There are a few reasons for this. First, Martha said if your boss is a good boss, they’ll want to do some work on their end to see if a raise is available before you meet.

Next, if you surprise your boss by asking for a raise, they may avoid the answer and say you can meet again later. This lets them get out of it and Martha said it’s an easy for them to continue to ignore your request for a raise.

2. Know why you should get a raise

Most of the time, your boss and company already know about your ongoing contributions and successes. In fact, your hard work and success is expected, that’s why they hired you! Today’s companies need more than just that, they need you to help find the money to pay you more.

You’ll need to prepare for this question before you ask for the raise. What have you done recently that increased revenue or cut expenses? It’s ok to bring in a paper or presentation with you to show your boss.

If you can’t find any hard numbers, maybe you’re not ready for a raise! However, there are definitely some other ways you can convey your value. Have you implemented process improvements, gone above and beyond on a consistent basis, or helped others get better?

One thing they always told us at Accenture was that we needed to be performing at the next level before we’d even be considered for it. Don’t expect a raise just because you’ve put in your time.

3. During the conversation, keep the topic on your pay

When you meet with your boss to ask for raise, don’t discuss other people’s pay as the reason you need a raise. This can come across as complaining, and it’s a game you won’t win.

4. After the conversation, set a follow up date

Most bosses have to get a one up approval if you ask for a raise out of sequence, so don’t force a commitment from your boss in the meeting. If you try to force it, they will not be happy. However, you should ask your boss for a follow up date to discuss the outcome.

Even if you get a “No” or “we’ll see”, immediately set a time for your next conversation in 60-90 days. If you don’t already have objectives set for yourself, work with your boss to create these, and then make sure you exceed them if you want a raise.

If all of these fail, you don’t get a raise, and you know you’re worth the extra money, it might be time to look elsewhere. It’s very easy to become stagnant at a job, and to settle even if you’re not happy. Remember, you are now a consultant, and if you want to continue to succeed at work you’ll need to learn the new way.

Have you asked for a raise lately? Do you have any other tips on asking for a raise?

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