How to ask for a pay rise at work
This is one of the questions I get asked all the time. It's a tough one, isn't it? If you feel the time is right to ask for a pay rise as work, there are certain steps you need to take before you even think of speaking with your boss. You must research!
I recently wrote a post on how crucial it is to research prior to a job interview and also recorded a podcast, so some of the steps in those will be applicable to take forwards into your role. That said, so many employees forget that after the job interview, research is still important to ask for a pay rise at work.
Understand the company pay trends
If you are working for a company that has a set schedule of pay rises, it might be best to wait until then. For example, many companies offer pay increases on an annual basis after yearly performance reviews. If this is the case for you, then start preparing for the time of year when you can negotiate a higher salary rather than ask for a pay rise at work out of the blue. I am not saying that you shouldn't ask out with the structured time, but it may be easier for you to succeed.
Know your worth
I hope that prior to securing your role, you knew exactly where your position and sector sat within the pay scale range based on market conditions and your experience? If not, you can find a salary checker here.
How do you fair up against the salary range? If you are at the top end and want to ask for a pay rise at work, you need to conduct further research into whether it's just a pay rise you are looking for or a promotion.
Be realistic and assess your performance at work. I mean be really realistic.
Have you had a recent appraisal? How did it go? If it was great and your manager was complimentary, you may be in with a chance of a salary increase. Go over your appraisal notes with a fine tooth comb. What were the key strengths detailed?
If your boss was so pleased with your performance, he/she decided to reward you with more responsibility, bingo! Now is the time to ask. High performance = more responsibility = probability of more profit for the company = more money for you 🙂
Justify your value
The next step is to plan exactly why you should ask for a pay rise at work. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What goals have you helped the company accomplish?
- Are you outperforming other similar areas of the business?
- What additional responsibilities have you taken up that have expanded your initial remit?
- Have you contributed significantly to company profit?
- Have you provided exceptional customer/ client service?
- Have you consistently overachieved against your targets?
- Have you saved the company money?
- Have you been proactive in supporting other areas of the business outside your job description that has contributed to success?
- Have you supported, mentored or trained other team members, which, in turn, has improved the business?
- Do you have additional employees that you supervise?
- Have you completed a key project ahead of time and under budget that has proved successful?
- Has the company implemented a great idea of yours?
- Do you have any great testimonials from customers?
- Have you won any awards or recognition for your hard work?
Once you have a solid case to ask for a pay rise at work, write it down. Now, practise what you are going to say. Does it sound credible? Use a friend or family member to practise with if you need to or lock the bathroom door and practise in front of the mirror. Ask for feedback. Do you sound flaky?
When you have reached the point that you have robust reasons to ask for a salary increase and sound assertive, confident and professional, you are ready for the next step.
If you are feeling nervous about approaching your boss, check out this post. It's how to combat interview nerves but will help you in this situation.
Schedule a meeting
It is vital that you ask your boss for a pay rise face-to-face. Don't cop out and do it by phone or email! It will be easier for them to say, “No” if you aren't in front of them, so don't take the risk after all your hard work preparing.
It's ok to let him/ her know what the meeting is about. If you don't want to say outright that you are planning to ask for a pay rise, you could say that you would like to discuss your performance. Just don't say, “It's a secret.”
I would recommend that you DO tell your boss that you are about to ask for a pay rise at work. That way he/ she will also be prepared with facts and figures relating to your performance. It also gives them an opportunity to talk to the financial decision maker within the organisation, such as HR or their own boss for example.
Great, so you have secured the meeting. Now is the time to be factual and professional. The last thing you want to do is become emotional or personal.
From your research and planning, set out your case in the following structure:
- What you are there to ask
- Why you have decided to ask for a pay rise at work
- Your evidence of great performance, contribution, and accomplishments
- How much you feel you deserve and is realistic, whether that is in £ or %
- Then be quiet!
Once you have presented the facts, stop talking! So many employees keep waffling (often due to nerves) and actually talk themselves out of the raise!
Allow your boss to have time to digest the information and ask questions.
OK. It's either going to be a “Yes” or “No” as the outcome. Your boss may want to take some time to think about it or consult with his/ her superiors. That's fine! Allow your boss the time to do this and avoid pressuring with self-imposed deadlines. Thank him/ her for taking the time to consider then leave it at that.
If it's a “Yes”, please make sure you keep it professional. Don't get over excited! I once had an employee give me a hug and a kiss when she was given a raise, which made me question if my decision was correct. (It was, but it did make me wonder!) Thank your boss and make absolutely sure you deliver on your objectives. Now is not the time to slack off now you have extra cash winging its way to the bank.
If it's a “No”, try not to be too downhearted. No, just means not yet. Again, thank your boss for taking the time to speak with you, but ask what you need to do to be in with a better chance next time. This will allow you to increase your performance and focus on the key areas that will lead to a salary increase or promotion. Every boss on the planet loves when their employees take ownership of their development, so even if the answer was no, you have a golden opportunity to take the necessary steps to get a “Yes” the next time you ask for a pay rise at work.