The topic of how much money you and your coworkers make is a sticky one. It’s hard to know whether you should talk about it with each other or not, particularly if you’re personally trying to increase your salary. On the one hand, it’s important to make sure you’re being compensated fairly compared to your peers (especially in light of the money you could lose due to the wage gap). But on the other, it’s a pretty awkward subject to bring up in casual workplace convo.

Working together is success

One of the best ways you can make sure you’re maximizing your earning potential in your current gig is to support your work BFF’s successes and hope that they’ll reciprocate the good vibes. Multiple #girlbosses campaigning for change can be way more powerful than just one, so if you feel like you’ve earned a raise (and let’s be honest, you definitely did!), keep reading to see how you and your office bestie can make it happen.

1. Do a little salary digging. One of the easiest ways to figure out if there’s room for growth in the money department is to get an idea of what your peers in similar roles are earning. We asked Vicki Salemi, career expert for Monster, how you can broach the subject tactfully. She recommends speaking about it in general terms, since frank money talk is taboo in many workplace cultures. If you aren’t comfortable gathering intel from people within your office, Vicki says a more subtle option is asking a mentor or colleagues at a different company what they think a fair salary for a role like yours would be. That way, you can gauge whether you’re being underpaid or whether your salary is on the higher end for your position. It’s also important to keep in mind that people with different levels of experience can have the same job title and make significantly different amounts of money, so make sure you take into account things like graduate degrees, years of relevant experience and specialized skill sets when evaluating your salary against someone else’s.

Photo of freelance designers enyoing work together in office

2. Champion others’ successes. Being able to acknowledge something awesome your coworker did can actually make you shine in your own way, and thus become more deserving of that coveted raise. “Coworkers can help each other succeed by simply being the type of person they would want to work with themselves. Be supportive, don’t gossip and praise others publicly as appropriate,” says Vicki. “Your goal should be to establish a friendly, team-oriented environment, so be professional, cordial, friendly and helpful when others ask questions — and then you can tap into their knowledge as well! It’s that golden rule: Treat others as you’d want to be treated.” It’s also well-worth the investment of time to brainstorm how each member of your team can use their individual strengths to help each other out and further your company’s overall goals. Being able to present comprehensive info on how your valuable teamwork is moving important initiatives forward really solidifies your worth to your boss and the company.

3. Go ahead, ask! One of the biggest things to know about getting a raise is that you most likely won’t get one unless you specifically ask for it. Of course, there are always exceptions, but in most situations you will need to make your case. Vicki recommends setting aside time with your boss to discuss and coming to the meeting super organized with your talking points ready to go. During the actual convo, the key is to remain calm. “Keep your cool and let your confidence soar. See how your boss responds and leverage it as a way to get a raise of a specific percentage above your current salary.”

Your boss may or may not grant the salary increase you’re asking for, but even if they don’t, Vicki says there’s still a positive takeaway. “Take that amount you’re getting underpaid and when you interview externally, add up to 10 to 20 percent and make that your asking salary! Congrats, you just gave yourself a huge raise. If your boss doesn’t give you one, another employer will.”

Have you and your office BFF helped each other out when asking for raises? Tell us about it @BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)