You’re a great worker. You contribute fresh ideas and utilize your skills to make a positive impact on your employer’s bottom line. You’ve always met — and often exceeded — the goals that have been set for you. You work hard, stay late, and pick up slack whenever you need to.
In short: You deserve a pay raise.
To get one, you just need to ask, right? After all: You deserve it.
Maybe not. If you ask for a raise without preparing a compelling case to present to upper management, you may not get the response you hoped for.
So, instead of marching into the boss’s office and asking for a raise, follow this nine-day action plan. If you do, you’ll have a much better chance of getting that raise you deserve.
Day 1: Research Salaries in Your Role
Do you know the average salary range for somebody in your position? If not, go look it up. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is a great place to find this information.
Studying average salaries will give you some good background information and a bit of perspective about the amount you can reasonable expect to make in your position. It can also help you come up with a realistic number in preparation for the negotiation.
If you find that you are already making the average salary for someone with your experience and education, don’t worry. These numbers are just guidelines, and they may not reflect all of the value that you add to your organization.
Day 2: Gather Evidence
When you approach upper management, you don’t want to speak in generalities. Asserting that you are a “hard worker” or a “reliable employee” isn’t going to be very effective.
Instead, you’ll need some hard data. Review the last 12 months of your performance and compile a list of the following:
- Projects you have completed successfully and the quantifiable benefits the company has gained from them.
- Awards or other forms of recognition that you have received from customers or management.
- Any training or other forms of education that you have completed.
- Other positive contributions that you have made.
Day 3: Clarify Your Career Goals
When you speak with your boss about getting a raise, there is a good chance that you will be asked about your future goals and plans as they relate to your role in the company.
This is why it is so important that you get your goals on paper. If you can demonstrate that you are committed to a future with the company and that you have goals of improving your skill set, getting additional training, and contributing even more, your request is more likely to be accepted.
If you are having difficulties articulating your goals, try doing a bit of mind mapping. This technique can also help of you’re trying to brainstorm new ideas to help your company.
Day 4: Research Your Company
How are the company stocks doing? Are there concerns about layoffs? Is the company taking on new staff and renewing contracts with consultants and vendors? If somebody needs new equipment, are they able to get it, or are they forced to work with what they have? Have pay rates stagnated across the board, or just in certain departments?
In other words, learn as much as you can about the financial health of your organization. It will have a direct impact on whether or not you get a raise.
Day 5: Plan for ‘No’
What will you do if your boss says they cannot or will not offer you a raise? Are you going to look for another job? Are you going to push the negotiation, or maybe wait a few months before approaching management again? Are there other perks that you could negotiate for in lieu of a raise, such as a bump in title with a raise to come at a later date, increased time off, or the ability to work from home?
Day 6: Ask for a Meeting
Asking for a meeting now will give your boss a chance to fir you into his or her schedule. It will also give you a few more days to continue working on your plan.
Day 7: Rehearse Your Case
Do a few dry runs through your presentation. If possible, do this out loud and in front of another person. Check your tone of voice. Make sure that you don’t sound angry, frustrated, or as if you are whining.
Write down some questions that you anticipate your boss will have for you, and prepare your answers to those questions. If you believe a past mistake will be mentioned, prepare a response that includes taking responsibility, acknowledging any damage that was done, explaining what you did to rectify your error, and steps you took to ensure that it would not happen again.
Day 8: Relax
You have worked hard to build a great case for yourself. Don’t overthink things now. Relax. Keep your thoughts upbeat and positive.
Day 9: Negotiate!
It’s game day! Go in, present your case, and ask for the raise that you deserve. Of course, a raise is never guaranteed, but if you followed all the steps in this plan, you’ve given yourself the best possible chance for success!