1. Find The Opportune Moment
Asking for a raise in an awkward scenario, so it probably seems like there’s never really a good time to approach your boss about having that conversation. Sinead says that really, you can ask about a pay rise at any time, but there are certain moments that are more naturally suited than others – such as during a performance review or at the end of the financial year.
“Try to avoid asking more than once a year as you could potentially come across as unrealistic, or even greedy, in your boss's eyes,” she advises. “If you’re still in your first year at the company it may not be favourable to ask for a pay rise unless you have done something amazing or your workload has increased.”
2. Do Your Research
If there’s one major faux pas to the art of asking for a raise, it’s not going into that meeting well prepared. You’re asking for more money from your employer, so you have to be able to show that you deserve it.
“Book some time in the diary with your boss and make sure you properly prepare for the meeting,” says Sinead. “Compare your salary against similar jobs being advertised at the moment, or use an online salary calculator. The stronger the case you can present the better your chances of getting what you want. Use every possible advantage to help weight your case, including any recent achievements or additional training, qualifications or skills you have gained. Don't forget to also mention your soft skills for example strong teamwork, attitude, meeting deadlines.”
3. Make Your Case
So you’ve done your research and made it all the way into the meeting room – now is not the time to flake. Self-assurance is key in these kinds of meetings; your boss will need to know that you’re confident enough, not only in your request, but also the reasons your deserve it. Actions speak louder than words, so despite your nervousness, be sure to sit up straight, don’t fidget and make eye contact.
Sinead also suggests speaking slowly and deliberately, using hand gestures to reinforce your points – but only if that’s your style. Try not to giggle, allow your gaze to wander or speak with your hand covering your mouth as these are all signs you’re uncomfortable and insecure about what you’re asking.
And as for tips on what to say? “Begin the meeting by mentioning a recent project you have completed successfully, this will immediately put you in their good books,” she advises. “Don’t feel the need to fill in any silences or ramble, wait for a response to your questions and business case and put the onus onto your manager to respond.”
4. Aim High
When it comes to the sticky subject of money, it can be hard to strike the right balance. Accepting an amount too quickly might seem eager and you could regret agreeing to so little, but rejecting the amount will likely come across as ungrateful. There’s a real skill to negotiating – after all, they don’t call it an art for nothing.
Sinead says that with any negotiation, you should always ask for more than you expect to get – within reason, of course: “Make sure you don't go in ridiculously high or you may end up being seen as naive. Let them know you're willing to take on more responsibility in return for extra money.”
5. Don’t Be Afraid Of Negotiation
After that, it’s all a waiting game. There’s likely to be some back and forth between you and your employer, but if you believe you deserve that amount of money, be sure not to back down. “Don't rush things, but do ask to be kept up-to-date with how your request is progressing. Expect some resistance and be prepared to fight your corner, but don't overdo it,” Sinead adds.
And if they won’t budge on the pay? Re-negotiate. “If your employer is unable to pay the salary you want, be prepared to ask for additional benefits such as a company car allowance or an increased employer's contribution to your pension scheme.”
6. Play The Long Game
Didn’t get the amount you were hoping for, or even a raise at all? Don’t let that make you lose motivation. “The important thing is keep working hard and gather that proof, because if you’re a valued employee, a pay rise will be too hard for your employer to resist,” Sinead says.
“Most companies will work hard to keep good employees happy as the cost in time, recruitment fees and the handover process make losing a valued employee bad news.”
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