How to Successfully Ask for a Well-Deserved Raise
You’re a hard worker who regularly goes above and beyond your duties in the office. In a perfect world, your boss would recognize you for slaying your job and increasing the company’s productivity by presenting you with a big fat check and an epic office party in your honor (with a 40 of rosé just for you, of course). However, in the real world, you’ve got a long road ahead of you if you want to score yourself a salary increase.
According to a recent SoFi survey, half of young, college-educated professionals didn’t negotiate their salary for their current jobs. And with a downward trend in real wage growth across the board, it’s clear that Americans *definitely* could use a few tools to help them score a well-deserved raise. That’s why SoFi launched Raise Week to help young professionals learn how to know their value in the workplace and gain the compensation they deserve with a ton of handy online tools, in-person events, and personal career coaching services. In honor of this awesome event, we sat down with career strategist and coach at SoFi Rachel Kim to get her top tips for scoring a well-deserved raise.
1. Know your worth. “It’s not about the amount of time you’ve worked somewhere, necessarily,” advises Kim. “For example, you might have only been working at a company for three months, but you’re taking on more projects, you’re going above and beyond, and you’re getting great feedback from your clients and your manager. If that is the case, it might make sense to begin the compensation conversation.”
2. Do your research. “Nearly 50 percent of the workforce do not ask for a raise because they don’t know what to ask for, so do your research,” says Kim. “When trying to get a sense of your market value, third-party websites like Glassdoor, Salary.com, and Comparably are a great place to start. Not only can you see what people are making in your industry; you can also search by title to determine if you’re being paid what you should be based on your experience.”
3. Gather internal intel. “Almost 55 percent of the workforce feel they are ill prepared to have a salary negotiation, so if you’re looking to make a raise request, you’ll want to determine your company’s salary bands — the highest and lowest amount that someone is likely to be paid in a certain role,” advises Rachel. The best way to do this? Buddy up to someone in HR. “[They] may not give you the specifics but should be able to give you a range,” she says. “It’s also worth reaching out to friends who have left the company, as people tend to speak more freely about salary once they’ve moved on.”
4. Connect with outside recruiters. If you’re at an executive level and have the means to hire an outside opinion, executive recruiting is definitely a great option. “We’re always talking to our members about expanding their professional networks, and one of the most valuable people you can get to know is someone who does executive recruiting (even before you start seeking a new role or a raise),” Kim notes. “This person can serve as another more reliable source on exactly how much companies are currently paying for the types of roles you are looking at.”
5. Find a time to chat that works for you and your boss. “The right time depends on how you’re doing at work — if you’re killing it, if you’re taking on more responsibilities of those typically senior to you, and you’re getting great feedback, that’s an excellent time to have the conversation,” Kim advises.
On the flip side, there’s also a few not-so-great times to ask your boss for a raise. “You don’t want to go in during a particularly stressful period for your manager and make it all about you. When there are other critical things going on in the business, you’ll want to wait until that is over. That said, there might be a situation where the stress never ends. In that case, I would make sure not to surprise your manager with the conversation. Set it up at least a couple months in advance by letting them know you’d like to discuss your compensation when the time is right. They can give you an idea of when the best time to talk about it would be for them, and that puts less pressure on both of you. Other bad moments to discuss salary are when the company is going through hard times or some pretty big losses.”
6. Mentally prepare yourself to slay the salary negotiation. “It can feel like a scary conversation, but we all have a tendency to make up stories in our heads to make it even scarier. We’ll think, ‘What if they think I’m greedy? What if they’ll think poorly of me? Or worse, what if they fire me?’ It’s okay to voice those fears out loud, but it’s even more important to remember that those are your inner critics trying to hold you back,” Kim notes. “If you’ve taken stock of your work and know it’s the right time to bring up your compensation, there is evidence that you should be making the ask. You have to trust yourself that it’s the right thing to do, and try to understand what’s holding you back.”
7. Call the meeting and stay confident. Once you do all of the above, it’s time to walk into the meeting with confidence. “However, before you dive into discussions of salary, get off on the right foot by making it clear that you are happy in your current role, talk about the work you are doing and the ways that you are contributing above and beyond your job description, and reference future opportunities that you look forward to tackling, as well as your continuing growth at the organization,” Kim suggests. “Then, ask if salary is something that you’re able to discuss, and if so, be prepared to discuss the amount or range, referencing the market value you previously gathered to back up your request.”
8. Know the difference between an acceptable reason and an unwarranted excuse for your employer to not give you a raise. “A lot of times your manager may give you a, “No, not yet.” You may think you’ve been doing all the right things and they may also think you’re on the right track, but there might also be a couple of areas where you’re falling short. If your manager is really clear about expectations and lets you know exactly what you need to work on, that’s a totally legitimate reason to say no,” Kim advises. “But if you have the conversation with your manager and they’re not giving you concrete reasons why they can’t offer you a raise, you might want to ask yourself if your manager has your best interests in mind. Especially if your company is doing well and your team is doing well, and they can’t articulate what you’re missing, you might start to feel like they’re not advocating for you. At that point, it might make sense to start looking into where you can make your voice heard elsewhere.”
Do you have any tips that’ll help on how to score a raise? Tweet us by mentioning @BritandCo.
(Photo via Getty)