How to Ask For and Get a Raise at Work
Words by: Victoria Bevilacqua
So, you’ve been at your job for over a year, you’ve worked hard, delivered over and above on tasks beyond your job description, and hit all those KPIs. You want to ask for that raise you know you’ve earned, but, your palms are sweaty and your heart rate is climbing just thinking about having that conversation with your supervisor.
Well, you’re not alone. Asking for a raise, much like public speaking or going to the dentist, creates anxiety in even the most confident among us. But, that’s no excuse, and you can’t avoid the topic forever. Because, let’s face it, if you don’t ask, the answer is automatically ‘no’.
Here’s how to approach this sometimes intimidating conversation, and how to get a mutually beneficial outcome out of it that’s sure to please both you and your boss…
Take inventory of what you’ve accomplished
First and foremost, take inventory of your work and what you’ve achieved during your time at your job. This means creating an actual list of your accomplishments. If you’re having trouble coming up with this, talk to your colleagues, and ask for feedback. This is not the time to play “humble” – it’s not about emotions, it’s about the numbers.
How many new social media followers were you able to attract during the time you’ve been working on the company’s online strategy?
How many new clients did you on-board?
What amount of revenue did you generate for the company since you started?
Getting solid figures on all these questions will require a lot of digging, research, and heavy lifting on your part, but trust us, if you put in the work now, you’ll thank yourself later when you see that bump in pay hit your bank account.
Shake off the negative thoughts
Once you’ve compiled all of your evidence about why you deserve that raise it’s time to execute and ask for what you want. But, this is often when many of us begin to experience a barrage of negative emotions. From guilt to self doubt, we begin to question whether or not it’s appropriate to ask for more money. We worry about the way our boss will react. Or, we become concerned about being seen as greedy.
Remind yourself: If you’ve been working hard and learning new skills, guess what, you’re not where you were when you first signed your contract; your salary should reflect that.
While asking for a raise can feel awkward and icky it is a normal part of advancing your career.
So, consider reflecting on your contributions, meditating on self-worth, and chatting with a mentor or a trusted co-worker to help you to quiet the negative thoughts that are potentially keeping you from asking for what you have rightfully earned.
Start with ‘Send’
Whether it’s a flirty text to your crush, finally RSVPing ‘will not attend’ to that wedding you have no interest in going to, or requesting a salary negotiation meeting, sometimes the trick is just hitting that SEND button. If it helps, break the process down into smaller tasks. Your first step? Simply, request the meeting.
If you’re especially introverted or anxious, and are concerned about getting flustered or panicked during your meeting, consider this: your boss might be just as nervous to discuss salaries as you are. Feel free to lay down your agenda ahead of time in your meeting request so you can get all of your points across clearly and give your boss time to digest the information.
Get creative with your negotiations
You’ve done your homework, gave yourself a great pep talk, and calmly and confidently made a great case for why you deserve a salary bump. What if the answer is no? Well, all hope is not lost. Remember, your salary isn’t the only thing that’s up for negotiation. Working at a cash-strapped start-up? Ask for equity, the implementation of a bonus structure, or more vacation time. Or, you can request to establish a timeline to re-evaluate your salary in a few months time. These strategies will show that you appreciate and respect the company’s position and are trying to come to a compromise for both parties.
It’s no secret that conversations around money are often challenging. But, with time and practice they can certainly become easier. But regardless of how difficult it might seem in the moment, advocate for what yourself, because you’re worth it.