Show me the money: Smart ways to negotiate a raise
In today’s economy, most employers may still offer the token cost-of-living increase, but you shouldn’t expect more than that with your annual review. That’s not to say, however, that you can’t negotiate a raise, especially if your performance has gone beyond their expectations.
Maybe you’ve taken on some additional responsibility or have consistently put in extra time and effort to keep a project on schedule. If your department has benefited from your work, it might be time to speak up…and you know, money talks.
Here are some tips that will help you prepare your case and navigate the tricky terrain of salary discussions:
Track your accomplishments
Your manager may notice that you’re doing a great job, but if you think you deserve a raise, you’re going to need to prove it. Keep a list of accomplishments that includes key successes, contributions to projects, and leadership roles you’ve assumed. Think tangible and quantifiable examples that prove your worth. When you show consistent performance, it demonstrates drive, capability, and dedication, and will help move your agenda forward. Specifically, it will help identify your value based on outcomes that are important to the success of your organization and give you grounds for greater compensation.
Know how much you’re worth
Do your research. It’s critical to know what others in the same industry, and with the same job title and qualifications are being paid. Proposing a salary that’s in line with the going rate will help justify your request and add a dose of reality to your ask. Employee turnover is costly to an organization. If a company can compensate an already trained, high performing employee instead of replacing them with one that can take months to get up to speed, it’s well worth the investment. Check out Salary.com or Glassdoor.com. Based on your geographic location, cost of living, qualifications, and experience, these sites will help calculate a realistic salary range.
Consider the entire compensation package
Sometimes outside factors can impact your request for a raise like recent layoffs, new cost-cutting measures, or a downturn in the industry. Some companies may not be in a position to increase your salary, but other benefits can be just as valuable. Flexible hours, additional vacation time, stock options, a bonus plan, a car allowance, or working from home can make your life easier and your job more enjoyable. It may not be the money you’re looking for exactly, but it does have value.
Negotiate the no
Stay professional at all times and remain calm during your discussion. Even if your employer says no to a raise, ask for constructive feedback and set a performance plan for moving forward. What additional things you can do that will warrant a salary increase? Set up another meeting to reopen negotiations again in three to six months.
Once you start the conversation, your manager will understand where you’re coming from and can become an ally in your pursuit. Maybe there’s an advancement opportunity in the future, the possibility of upgrading your current position to a new title, or a chance to showcase your project management skills in a meeting. While a raise may not be in the budget today, give your manager a chance to build their own case to sell an increase to upper management.
Above all, don’t give them an ultimatum, unless, of course, you’re willing to follow through. If you come to the conclusion that you need to look elsewhere, it’s best to start searching while you’re still employed and earning a paycheck.
Just do it
It can be a nerve-wracking process, but if you believe you deserve a raise, ask for it. No employer wants their star employee out looking for other opportunities outside of the company. The worst they can say is no, but you’ll have brought your accomplishments and value to their attention. In the end, they might just realize your true worth.