Seriously. A raise? Now? In this economy? Sure! With the right attitude, confidence, preparation and timing, you can succeed. Besides, can you think of a better time in the past few years where employers really need their best people?
It’s not all doom and gloom out there. Things still aren’t back to normal but we like to think that most, if not all of the layoffs planned have already happened; and the (lucky) ones that remain are key and vital to their organizations. For that reason alone, now may be the perfect time to take inventory of your worth, do the necessary research and create a plan for a well-deserved salary increase.
Many people think that asking for a raise is as simple as going into the boss’s office, making a few poorly-prepared statements, and sitting back waiting for an answer. This is the perfect way to guarantee a negative reply and will have set them back for months for the next opportunity to ask for another raise.
One thing to remember is that this is a negotiation. If one is a salesperson or manager, they routinely deal with negotiating with customers and vendors. If not, think back to haggling over a car, a house, an airfare online, etc. There are always two sides. Each side has something the other wants, and the goal is to communicate clear worth on sides.
How then, is the right way to accomplish this awkward and uncomfortable task? Before you even think of requesting a meeting, the most important thing is being prepared.
The key question that you should ask yourself is ‘How has my contribution affected my company’s bottom line?’ If you can document times where your diligence has paid off with additional customers, substantial dollar savings, and increased profit dollars, etc. then those are the things that should be highlighted. You need to make an action list and come up with three situations where your input was key and how it affected the company positively. Be as specific as possible. Strong figures don’t lie and are hard to dispute. Just like when you applied for your job, you showed them what you could do for them. Now is the time to show them what you have done for them. It’s not the time to brag or bash your fellow employees but to highlight your accomplishments.
Once you have set up a specific time to meet, it’s important to remember that you have a captive audience for a short time. There is no need to dress to impress; you want this to be a casual, at ease discussion. Body language, tone and emotions play a huge part on who has the edge. Confidence on your part is key and will not portray weakness.
You will need to convey that you are a critical part of the success of the business. The way to do this is to ask questions such as where does your boss see your position going in the future, are there extra projects that need to be completed in which you can take on additional responsibilities, etc. The key is to get your boss to do most of the talking. You can then tailor-make your responses based upon their position, concerns, objectives and needs. Your ultimate goal is to convince your manager that you have gone above and beyond the normal realm and that you deserve a salary increase.
By clearly sharing what makes you more valuable, showing the progress that you have made and presenting your company loyalty should give you enough ammunition to ask for a legitimate raise. When considering any increases, any good manager knows that it comes down to the bottom line: “keep expenses down!” How much to ask for? There’s no set figure or percentage but presenting a fair and sensible figure will get you much farther in negotiating. Many times, however, there just isn’t enough money in the kitty to dole out any increase; no matter how good anyone is.
HOWEVER, though, employers have recently realized that perhaps it’s not always about the net dollar amount on the check. There are other options; sometimes more valuable than a few extra dollars per day. Flex-time is very desirable for those with young families, additional vacation or PTO (personal time off) days are attractive and doesn’t cost the company any outright dollars. Perhaps a different desk/office location or parking spot is acceptable in lieu of funds.
All companies have the same wish: to keep their employees happy, which is paramount to business success. We are all fortunate to have good jobs. But you need to realize that you are equally as important to them as they are to you. You are valuable and they know it.
The above tips should help you avoid mistakes most people make, and you’ll be more likely to get the best possible deal in your next negotiation. Good luck!