Asking for a Raise: Everything You NEED to Know

Asking for a raise can be super unnerving. I’m not shy, but the thought of approaching a leader for a raise used to make me break out in a cold sweat. I thought that if I deserved a raise or promotion, my leaders would recognize this and act accordingly. As you can imagine, this didn’t get me too far. I realized to progress, I would need to do the work, and as scary as this was, it was worth it!

Why do we find asking for a raise so scary? While we may hesitate due to mean bosses or stingy finance departments, often, it’s the fear of hearing an outright NO. How do we overcome this? Well, it’s essential to understand how to ‘pitch’ your request to demonstrate your value and win leadership to your side.

Pitch? Yes, you heard me right! Put aside your notions of PowerPoint presentations and Dragon’s Den schticks, and think about providing a compelling case that shows your boss WHY you deserve the raise.

Be Prepared and Specific

Be sure you understand your organization. Spend at least six months in your role (many companies have rules around this) and make sure you can clearly outline your request and why you deserve it. Don’t just corner your boss unexpectedly and demand a raise. Do your research, be informed of the company’s compensation and budget policy, your manager’s budget oversight, and the market demand for comparable roles.

Do your homework on the best time to ask for a raise, be specific in your ask, and be prepared for questions and feedback. Remember – ambiguous hints don’t work.

Honestly Evaluate Yourself

Self-awareness is key. Understanding what you need to get to the next level is important before asking for a raise. Do you know what you need to do to get here? It could be improving your consistency or working a few extra minutes to show dedication.

Do Your Research and Provide Suggestions

Study the market. Come up with a way that can help tailor your company’s services to increase demand. Simply put, how can you influence the bottom line from your desk? Once you figure this out (don’t forget the data to back up your idea) – watch your value (and pay) increase!

Ask Where You Can Show Value

One way to show your commitment is to ask your boss how you can help. By asking questions, it shows what you bring to the table, increasing your value. Most leaders prefer employees who genuinely seek to add value. Pay close attention to their comments and actions regarding a specific initiative and position yourself to be the BEST solution. The importance of understanding your leader’s priorities cannot be overestimated!

Ask for the Right Reasons

Let’s roleplay! You are the principal of a school. Two teachers, Jane and John, each come asking for a raise. Each has prepared what they believe is a convincing speech.

John: I’ve been in my role a while and would like to ask for a raise. My bills have increased, and my place has become less affordable.

 Jane: Having conducted an analysis of my course curriculum, I realized that with an update, our program will rate among the best with improved test rankings. I created a revision plan to enhance the educational experience for our students. However, I ask that you consider a raise in line with undertaking this initiative.

 Whose request would you rather grant?

Set Your Plan on Track – Intro Talk

Once you have conducted research and honestly evaluated yourself, it is time to set up an introductory conversation. Make sure to consider your boss’s frame of mind that day and adjust accordingly. Explain how you want the company to succeed and how you can help. Clarify your commitment and ask for recommendations on where you need to improve on to get to the next level. Tailor this into your proposal to ensure your case is solid.

Be Proactive

You never know who is watching. Try your best to meet and exceed expectations in your current role. Assist where necessary, tackle challenges, and be reliable. When there is a vacant position, fill in where you can, cementing your consideration as a natural candidate when the role is posted. No one is indispensable, but do your best to be.

Be Prepared For a Negative Response

Once you ask for a raise, the response can only come in two ways; either a “yes” or “no.” Being prepared for a negative response will help you get back on track faster. If it wasn’t the outcome you were looking for, remember to ask for feedback on how to improve, and get working!

Put It All Together

Even after doing all this, don’t expect your leader to provide constant feedback. Make sure to communicate you were responsible for keeping a customer or that the extra revenue was from your idea. This way, when you come with a promotion request, they already know your value, increasing your chance of a YES!

Putting all this into consideration, it’s only a matter of time before you get that promotion and raise you deserve!

Please note that these are only guidelines to help you structure your pitch. It is equally crucial that you bear in mind your organization’s UNIQUE mode of operation, pain points, and goals.

Christopher is the Chief Value Officer and Founder of Change My Life Coaching and Co-Founder of Change My Business Coaching and the Healthy Transformations Weight Loss & Inflammation Reduction Program.  Change my Life Coaching is a fast growing whole-life, leadership and business coaching company, and the only one of it’s kind.  He is also the author of “Go Beyond Passion: Discover Your Dream Job”. Christopher spent 15+ years working in the corporate world with a plethora of industries and companies. His focus was primarily in planning, strategy, and leadership of change management and communication. Christopher is a Certified Master Coach Practitioner (CMCP), trainer and facilitator, and a passionate public speaker who truly cares about the success of each and every single person he comes into contact with. You can reach him at [email protected].

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