5 Tips for Asking for a Raise (Hint: The Time is NOW!)

Tips for Asking for a Raise

5 Tips for Asking for a Raise (Hint: The Time is NOW!)

Conversations about money are awkward with your closest friends and relatives. Having those discussions with your supervisor is even more stress-inducing. Some companies are proactive when it comes to providing reviews once or twice per year, and pay increases in conjunction with the results of those reviews. Even if your employer does conduct periodic reviews or salary audits, you will still need to become comfortable asking for additional compensation. You’ll also have to be able to demonstrate that you’re deserving of it. If you’re considering making the request, there is no time like the present. With the national unemployment rate down to 4.4%, businesses have room to breathe and expand. In addition to creating new jobs, employers are also creating more responsibilities and roles for those currently working for them. Companies are feeling more comfortable offering pay raises in an effort to attract and retain top performers. While pay increases are common practice in many industries, you may not receive one if you don’t ask for it. Here are some things to keep in mind as when you are requesting a raise from your employer.

Consider the timing
As in most every situation, when it comes to asking for a raise, timing is everything. Now that we’re more than halfway through 2017, many budgets are already planned and in some cases, spent! If you’re planning to wait until the end of the year, or until you’re sitting in your annual review meeting to ask for a raise, it will most likely be too late. Forbes recommends asking 3 months before your annual review to allow time for the request to be considered and approved. Having your request coincide with a great accomplishment or the realization of a company goal never hurts either. In light of the achievement, your supervisor will be in a position to better appreciate your work, and more likely to reward it accordingly. The Holmes Rahe Stress Inventory scale recognizes a change in responsibilities at work as one of the most stressful life events an adult can experience. If you make your request to coincide with a time when you receive more responsibility or take on a hard-to-staff project your employer can factor this into the decision. Your tenure with the company is a factor as well. The Muse recommends waiting until you’ve been with an organization for at least a year before requesting a pay increase.

Come to the table with justification
Alison Green, a former nonprofit chief of staff and author of the Ask a Manager Blog, advises: “At its essence, a raise is recognition that you are now more valuable than you were—that your skill level has improved, that you’ve accomplished more.” Talk about a way in which you made the company money, saved the company money, or improved a process or procedure.  If you’re thinking of asking for more money than your company’s standard raise increments, make sure that it’s in line with the current market for your job title. Use a website like Payscale.com, Indeed.com, Salary.com, Glassdoor.com, or the Bureau of Labor Statistics website, which all provide ballpark salary estimates for any given profession.

Make it about the company
When it comes time to start the dialogue about your raise, be careful not to lead by expressing your needs. Focus on the needs of the company, and your ability to fill those needs. Start by expressing gratitude for the opportunity and experience you have gained at the company. Give concrete examples of how you’ve exceeded expectations, and ways that you will continue to do so. In an online article for TIME, Robert Herjavec, businessman and investor on ABC’s Shark Tank, says that raises are not as much about the past as they are about the future. He recommends adding to your worth with some sort of commitment to an additional responsibility, training or project. By asking for an increase in salary, you are in affect saying that you plan to somehow increase your value to the company. This doesn’t have to be a major overhaul of your duties, but an attempt to emphasize that an investment in you is a good one.

Is a raise or promotion feasible for the company?
Your performance may not be the only factor in determining if you receive a pay increase. If you know that sales have been down, or that there are impending layoffs on the horizon, asking for a pay increase may be unwise. Companies in a poor financial situation often have to choose cutting employee bonuses or raises in an effort to avoid layoffs or cutbacks. According to CNN’s Money online, the average employee in the U.S. receives a 3% salary increase each year. If you started with the company at a higher rate of pay than what is standardly implemented at the company, you may already be at the top of the pay scale, and should expect a small increase, if any. On a positive note, Glassdoor’s data shows a 3.1% year-over-year growth in salaries in November 2016, the fastest pace in three years.

How often should you ask for a raise?
According to Forbes, salary increases are typically granted only once a year. This is dependent on the state of the economy, the fiscal positon of your organization, and the demand for talent in your industry. Typically when raises happen with greater frequency, they are in specific industries, and are usually in cents, not dollars. The Society for Human Resource Management notes that there are other situations when a company may be willing to review salary structure, such as a merger or acquisition, a significant change in the labor market, or a competitor’s opening a new facility or closing one near the company’s operations. If you were already considering requesting a pay raise, these instances may create an opportunity.

In conclusion, your best asset in requesting a salary increase is preparation. Professionals who have done their homework can back up their request with concrete data and demonstrate the value they bring to the organization. These people are likely to have a more productive dialogue, and receive the additional compensation they are seeking. If your employer is unable to honor your request, keep the lines of communication open by asking them if there is anything you can do moving forward that would help influence their decision. If it is a timing issue, ask them if there is a future date when they would be willing to revisit it with you again. Sometimes a “no” is just the beginning of the conversation, and you may still be able to receive some benefit from the situation. Prepare yourself for every response. Just remember that if you never ask, you’ll never know.

An experienced recruiter can help you compile evidence to support your request, and coach you in making a compelling case for the increase. If you’d like assistance from one of our veteran recruiters, contact Bradley Staffing Group today.

Bradley Staffing Group is a full-service staffing firm based in Wayne, PA. We are committed to matching A-level talent with best-in-class businesses. Our knowledgeable and well-trained staff brings a combined 70+ years of staffing experience to our clients and candidates alike. http://bradleystaffinggroup.com/contact-us/

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