Asking for a raise is intimidating, right?
You would be surprised how many people complained or shared that they hadn’t had a raise *in years*. I’m talking 3, 5, and 7+ years. Their job descriptions changed. What they were required to accomplish in a day grew larger. The amount of juggling, emails, and phone calls shot up. However, the hourly rate didn’t budge an inch.
Your boss is more concerned with running the business, department, or team. And your wage (or salary) is not too high priority on any of those charts. This isn’t a story of elites versus peasants or big versus small. It’s not even that he or she doesn’t care. It’s reality. Even economics.
Your boss’ day is filled putting out fires and overseeing others. It’s not, specifically, that they don’t care or don’t like you.
Your Boss Doesn’t Hate You and Wants You to Succeed
Some writers will claim that your boss either hates you or wishes they could fire you. I really wouldn’t go that far. I hold a more charitable view of the average person. In fact, I know most bosses want their teams, divisions, departments or businesses to grow like gangbusters. They may just not understand all of the synergy needed to make this happen.
Most are very willing to invest other resources into their employees, particularly those who invest back into their work. These investments include things like time, attention, and even concern for your personal life.
Heard the phrase “a rising tide lifts all boats” at some point?
This is how managers want to see the world. The reality is that all of that goes by the wayside in the day-to-day. Chances are very high that your manager or boss simply forgot about your raise. The fires and lack of time almost ensure this will happen at some point. They have other priorities.
That’s not to say there aren’t bosses who are in it for the money. They may just see how far they can go before you will step up and speak up. Even if this is the case in your instance, the method of approach is the same.
The squeaky wheel gets all the grease.
The single largest factor in you not getting a raise is you not speaking up.
Let me phrase this another way. It’s totally your fault that you didn’t get a raise. No, it’s not your boss’ fault. It’s not the company’s fault. It’s not the economy’s fault. The stars are aligned just fine and bad luck is not a phrase in your income vocabulary. Drop the excuses.
(This post takes it for granted that you are a hard worker. You wouldn’t be reading a blog about professional growth if that wasn’t the case. Good for you.)
Let’s move on to what you need to do to get a raise.
Time to Learn the 3 Secrets of Getting A Raise
1) Do the homework on your boss.
You work with this person every day. This counts for something. You know when and how to bring an item or task to their attention. This is how you deal with them and how things get done. Find the right time. If your boss hates being interrupted when the door is closed and they are on the phone, then don’t do it.
When it comes to asking for a raise, though, there are other components to consider. Anticipate your boss’s response to your desire for a raise and come up with intelligent points that will address their thoughts. Does your boss have a background in accounting? Is he or she a doctor or maybe former military? Couch your points in language that appeals to these backgrounds. Think about your boss’s typical concerns with a new project or fire that needs to be put out. What do they often consider or dwell upon?
The other piece is to understand the budgetary power behind the decision. How you approach a business owner who is effectively paying you out of their personal income or investment will be a little different than a midlevel manager at a large corporation. Modify your raise request to fit the situation.
Place yourself in their shoes and make a convincing case for a raise.
2) Facts not feelings!
No opinions allowed. Pay attention to what you say and stay away from phrases like “I think…” and “I believe that…” Stick to specific tasks and talk about numbers. You want FACTS.
Work isn’t about the warm and fuzzies, it’s all about value. Your value is what you bring to the table. It is measured in production.
Do your research. Make a list of tasks that were not originally part of your job description but that you now perform. Look for the areas where you took the lead or were recognized for going above and beyond. Incorporate the positive feedback of coworkers or maybe even have a coworker provide a reference or statement of your hard work.
Head over to sites like Glassdoor or Salary.com and see what your peers are being paid. Collect the data and analyze. Google the position to learn more about it or equivalent positions. Is there a lot of demand? Turn scarcity or demand in your favor.
3) Find another job.
This is something that will be in play for some jobs but may be less important in others. At the end of the day, you are paid what you are worth to the company or business that you work for.
Be Smart About Asking for a Raise
It would be nice if everyone from the janitors to the CEO were paid the same, but we function in a society where certain skills demand more money than others.
The best way to demonstrate value is to give your boss a good hard number. That number is strong when it comes in the form of another job offer. It costs time and money to replace you. At the end of the day, that number is not unlimited, but it does factor into his or her decision.
Giving you a raise is cheaper than losing you in most cases. If you have an offer or number from another company, then your boss will need to meet or even exceed the comparable offer.
Just tread carefully and know your company culture when it comes to this point. Some organizations or people may be offended you are out looking for other jobs whereas other positions may trend in the mobile direction.
At the end of the day, even an imperfect attempt at requesting a raise is better than no attempt. Do the groundwork and make a reasoned case. This is accomplished by performing the necessary homework on your boss, kicking out feelings, or having another job offer.
Now you are ready to tell your boss why you earned a raise!
Check out some of our other posts related to the workplace!