How to ask for a raise

People who work hard and do a high quality job expect to be paid fairly. They anticipate periodic pay increases in addition to other types of recognition. Unfortunately, pay raises don’t always come when they are expected or when employees fee they are warranted. Asking for a raise is something that most everyone encounters at some point in their career.

One of the most important things to remember is that asking for a raise should only be done when you are truly deserving of one. If you have delivered sub-level-1 or poor quality work, missed deadlines and deliverables, missed lots of work time, or caused other business disruptions, it’s not a good time to approach your boss for a raise.

Always be prepared to explain why you believe you deserve a raise and use as much documentation as possible to demonstrate your point. These steps will help you prepare for a meeting with your boss so you can get the outcome and «income» you are seeking.


Step 1

Evaluate your performance against goals.

Asking for a raise starts by evaluating how you have performed against goals and expectations. Have you met deliverables? Is your work high quality? Have you been an excellent team player or team leader? Are you dependable, consistent, and professional? All of these things should be considered before you take the next step.

Step 2

Assess individual performance objectives.

Most companies provide employees with a list of specific individual objectives for the year or for a period of time. Review your objectives and see if you have met or exceeded each one. If you have fallen short due to changes in company priorities or other legitimate reasons, clarify the reasons for adjusting your focus. Give specific examples of accomplishments and contributions to the company and don’t focus simply on actions. Actions lead to accomplishments and that’s what really matters.

Step 3

Review comparable salaries in your industry.

The worst thing you can do is ask for a raise because Phil or Jane received one. Do your own homework to evaluate how people are being paid in similar industries. There are many online resources for salary comparisons and guidelines for specific jobs. Your company may also have those types of things available so talk with someone in the Human Resources Department if you’re not sure. Being equipped with what you believe the market pays for someone in your position with your skills, quality, and education can be a real eye-opener. Just don’t ask for a raise because you have bills to pay or because someone in the company makes more than you.

Step 4

Prepare documentation in writing.

Always prepare documentation and information in writing. Allowing your boss to preview information prior to the meeting is helpful. Written documentation also serves as a guide for discussion and helps you focus on what’s most impotant. Be clear and concise and organize your documentation in a way that flows naturally. Following the steps above is a good way to organize your document.

Step 5

Schedule a meeting.

Proactively schedule a meeting with your boss and tell him or her the subject of the meeting. Ask them if they would like written documentation in advance and if so, be sure to provide it well in advance of the meeting. Always take an extra copy of the documents with you to the meeting for their convenience. Start the meeting by explaining what you’d like to discuss, proceed with discussion, and conclude with what you’d like to see as the outcome of the meeting. Ask about next steps and what else you can provide to help expedite decisions.

Step 6

Follow-up in writing.

Once you have met with your boss and decisions are made, it’s essential to follow-up in writing. If you receive a positive response, then it’s appropriate to thank your boss for the time and consideration. Also remind him or her that you will be focused on new objectives for the coming time period and look forward to contributing to the company’s mission and overall objectives.

If the outcome is not favorable, a follow-up is definitely in order. Assuming you still believe you deserve a raise, clarify what steps must be taken to make it happen. Ask for specific expectations and solicit feedback on how you can do a better job. Then be sure to follow-up in 2-3 months for additional feedback.

You will Need
• Detailed documentation of your performance so far.
• History of accomplishments, productivity increases, completed projects, percentage sales increase, and other important things related to your particular job.
• Salary comparison information from HR or other reputable resource.

Tips & Warnings
• Never ask for a raise because you just need money.
• Do not ask for a raise based on a co-worker’s salary or someone else you know.
• Never approach your boss with this question without proper documentation of your performance and accomplishments.
• Be prepared to respond if the answer is ‘no’ by asking what must be done to successfullly get a raise.
• Be assertive but do not be arrogant or angry.
• Treat your boss with respect and professionalism throughout the discussion.


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