How To Ask Your Boss For A Raise… And Get IT!

Owen Winkelmolen

Fee-for-service financial planner and founder of PlanEasy.ca

Asking for a raise is tough, but asking for a raise can significantly boost your income. Over 50% of the people who ask for a raise receive one, and almost 10% received a raise HIGHER than the one they asked for or expected.

With odds like that can you afford not to ask?!?

While 50% can seem like good odds…. you can do even better. To improve your odds it’s important to negotiate a raise ‘the right way’.

Asking for a raise in the right way requires a little bit of prep-work. This prep-work should take place throughout the year. Doing it all at once and then asking for a raise won’t be much help.

You also need to know when raises typically occur. It’s possible to get a raise outside these review periods but its waaaaay easier to work within them. Typically, there is a review period once or maybe a few times per year.

There are also some things you should absolutly NOT do when asking for a raise. Doing any one of these things will sink your chances immediately.

Prep-work Before Asking For A Raise:

 

Some of the prep-work you should be doing includes:

 

  • Ask for feedback – do this throughout the year.
  • Step up – Take on more responsibility, ask for more responsibility if you have to.
  • Document achievements – It’s tough to remember what happened a month ago let alone a year ago, document your great achievements as they happen.
  • Keep a record of any praise – If you receive praise from a manager or co-worker, keep it!
  • What is your value? – How do you add value to the business? The more value you add the more likely you’ll get a raise.
  • Do some research – What is the typical pay for your position? This will help you know how much to ask for.
  • Know what you want and what is fair – You might get asked what you think your increase should be, don’t get caught without an answer or with an answer that is unrealistic.
  • Have options – Even if you don’t intend to leave your current employer it’s nice to have options and it will come through in your confidence. Brush up your LinkedIn and start expanding your network.
  • Think about the future – You want to sell your boss on your dream for yourself and for the company.

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Decide when to ask:

Ideally you should ask for a raise when you’re doing excellent work or are being asked to do more difficult work.

But it’s also important to align your request with typical compensation review periods at your company. These can be a few times per year or just once per year.

Find out when your review period is and time your request appropriately. Often there is a set budget for raises each year. If your review period has passed there may not be any budget left for raises.

Outside those annual review periods it can be still possible to get a raise, but it becomes more difficult. Now your manager to get special approval and find room in the budget.

Get Comfortable:

Asking for a raise can be a bit uncomfortable. No one wants to be rejected. Be prepared for difficult questions. Typical questions include…

  • Why do you think you deserve a raise?
  • What value have you brought to the company/business?
  • What do you see yourself doing in the future?
  • What do you expect for an increase?

Rehearse your ‘pitch’ with a partner or a friend. You want to be confident and clear the reasons you deserve a raise. You want to have a few main points prepared beforehand and practice how you’re going to say them. This will make it much easier during the actual salary review meeting.

“Over 50% of the people who ask for a raise receive one, AND almost 10% received a raise HIGHER than the one they asked for.” 

Be Prepared For A “No”:

Getting a raise doesn’t always happen the first time. Sometimes it’s not possible even if your manager wants to give you a raise.

One strategy can be to ask for a mid-term review. Set a date 3 to 6 months from now. Show them you’re serious. Ask your manager what you need to do to get a raise. Have them tell you exactly what is important to them.

Don’t get discouraged if you hear ‘no’, you’ve planted a seed, now you need to water it.

Don’t Do This When Asking For A Raise!

There are a few things you definitely should NOT do if you’re asking for a raise…

  • Don’t ask via email. It’s too easy to do, and just as easy to dismiss. It shows a lack of commitment. Setup a meeting instead.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others.
  • Don’t tell your manager why you need a raise.
  • Don’t ask during a busy period. Everyone is stressed, and the quick answer is ‘no’.
  • Don’t give an ultimatum. Having options will to boost your self-confidence but never put your loyalty into question, it won’t help.
  • Don’t expect an answer right away. Rarely will your manager be able to give you a raise on the spot. Be patient.

Good luck!

Owen Winkelmolen

Financial planner, personal finance geek and founder of PlanEasy.

New blog posts weekly!

Tax planning, benefit optimization, budgeting, family planning, retirement planning and more...

New blog posts weekly!

Tax planning, benefit optimization, budgeting, family planning, retirement planning and more...

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