How to Successfully Ask for a Raise

Asking for a raise can be nerve wracking, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Follow these steps to successfully ask for that raise.

Walking into your manager’s office and asking for a raise can be intimidating, to say the least. If you come unprepared or present your request in the wrong way, there’s a risk of losing the opportunity altogether. In fact, a PayScale salary survey shows that about 60 percent of employees haven’t bothered to ask for a raise in their current field—many weren’t comfortable asking and some were afraid of being perceived as pushy.

However, if you’ve created value and shown successful results for your company, you shouldn’t feel shy making the request for a raise. Here’s how you should go about asking for a salary increase in three easy steps:

Step One: Plan

When I was working at WebEx during its early days, I approached the leadership team to ask for more responsibility. I spent a month studying the data and market, and researching our rep’s productivity levels compared to our peers. I analyzed various solutions and ultimately suggested we build a new enterprise team to take an alternative go-to-market approach. After meeting with the CEO, CFO and VP of Sales, I was given the opportunity to build our enterprise sales team and ultimately advance my career. Don’t just walk into your manager’s office and surprise them with a request for more responsibility, or a raise. Instead, set the agenda ahead of time. Be straightforward and let them know that you’d like to begin the discussion during your next 1:1 meeting. This way, both you and your manager can prepare accordingly, and your manager doesn’t feel put on the spot.

Step Two: Prepare

According to Ramit Sethi, founder of I Will Teach You To Be Rich, “the best way to negotiate a higher salary is to earn it.” If you can’t come to your meeting prepared to communicate your case, then maybe you want to save the discussion for another time. Ask yourself: what evidence do I have of the value I’ve created since my last salary adjustment? Think of specific examples of the “what” and “how” of your accomplishments that demonstrate the values and desired behaviors of your company.

Be sure to also think about examples of how you’ve worked with others and contributed to a positive working environment and culture—reinforcing these commitments shows that you’re a team player. When I asked for more responsibility at WebEx, I was prepared with the very specific plan for what I wanted to do and why. Managers will be more receptive to a proposition if you fully demonstrate the value it brings for the company as a whole.

Step Three: Show them the data

During your meeting, be as specific as possible with data, results and outcomes. When employees have approached me in the past with an outline of their role, goals and statistics that prove they’ve met their goal metrics, it paints a stronger picture of their success. At BetterWorks, we use a goal management methodology called Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) to measure goals and outcomes, so it’s easy for employees to come to these meetings with data on the goals they’ve crushed, the collaborative goals they’ve worked on with other team members and any future goals. The more concrete context you give to why you deserve a raise, the better. Finally, after you’ve demonstrated your value as an employee, it’s always better to ask for the maximum salary adjustment that can be made—especially if the value you’ve created warrants it.

To end your meeting, instead of demanding for an answer right away, let your manager know that you want them to look into the matter and have time to think about their decision. At the same time, be sure to set a clear timeline for them to make their decision—for instance, plan to re-meet to discuss their decision one week from your initial meeting.

Asking for a raise seems daunting at first, but if you believe you’ve created enough value to warrant the discussion on salary adjustment, don’t be afraid to ask. By following these three easy steps, you can bring yourself closer to getting the raise you deserve.

Photo credit: efetova/Shutterstock

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