8 TIPS ON HOW TO ASK FOR A SALARY RAISE – MAXIMIZE YOUR CHANCES OF GETTING A RAISE
By KC Makhubele, B Com, MBA
How many people are happy with the salary that they are currently receiving? Who would not jump at a chance of a salary increase if they were offered one, or knew that if they ask they would get it? How many when they receive their salary wished it was just a few digits more? Now, how many would answer in the positive to most if not all of these questions?
The issue is not whether people would like to have a salary raise, but the “HOW” is what deters people from taking the courage to ask for it. The fact is that if you don’t ask for a raise, the likelihood for the company doing it on their own accord and outside of the normal salary review and increment season is unlikely. To get a salary increase you need to ask for it by name! Here are some tips on making sure that when you do decide to ask for a salary raise you do in fact stand a chance of getting it.
1. DEFINE AND BUILD YOUR CASE
The fact that you want or need a salary raise, is not enough unless you have a credible case to present. Asking for an increase because your expenses are higher than your income is not a compelling case. Some of the more credible reasons could be:
- You are underpaid in comparison to same or similar positions in the industry.
- You are a super performer and you have been getting a similar “across the board increase “like everyone in the company. You must have your performance history and tenure in the organisation. Do you have a view of the results of your colleagues?
- You can show that your individual effort have contributed more to the bottom line of the organisation. Have your financial data to support
- Your skills set are highly specialised, critical to the organisation and sought after in the industry. Have statistics to back this up.
2. DETERMINE IF THE ORGANISATION CAN GIVE YOU AN INCREASE
Timing is everything. It does not help asking for a raise when the organisation is not doing well and have called for a cost curtailment exercise. It is also important to note that an organisation that is unprofitable, despite your value to them, may not be able to afford what you are asking for. It is essential therefore to check if it is the right time to ask for a raise and ensure you are aware that the organisation can afford it. I find one of the best times to start this conversation is when the organisation is working on their budget and preparing for a salary increment. This way they can budget for “above the norm” increase for you.
3. RESEARCH AND COLLECT MARKET DATA
Check what other people in the same or similar position as yourself, within your organisation, your industry and competition are earning. Do they earn more than you earn? Use salary surveys to bolster your position and your case. If you belong to a professional body, study their data and speak to relevant officials. The job adverts on newspapers and job portal can serve as useful source of information.
4. GENERATE ALTERNATIVE TO A TRADITIONAL SALARY INCREASE
Going to the employer fixated on a traditional increase may lessen your chances of actually improving your salary situation. It may also lead to either, a Yes or No answer from the organisation. Consider the following as some of the options:
- Once off lump sum bonus payment outside of the normal incentive scheme standards.
- Payments towards the cost of your career development. A fully paid holiday for your family to a destination of your choice
- Giving or increasing your equity in the organisation
- A fully paid sabbatical etc.
5. PREPARE FOR A “NO” RESPONSE
We all hope for a “Yes” response to our request, yet the fact is that we may sometimes get a “No” for an answer. We must be fully prepared for this so that we are not shocked and immobilised if this is the case. So what if the response from the employer /boss is a No? Think about your alternatives? Will you try your luck another time? Will you accept that this is your salary level as long as you work in your current employ? Will you resign? Will you drop your performance? Whatever you do has its own consequences and must be deliberated upon carefully. Whatever you do, be prepared for a NO.
6. SET UP THE APPOINTMENT WITH THE RELEVANT PERSON
Don’t set a meeting with a person who will not help advance your course – find out who is the right person. This is an important matter for you and a financial commitment from your employer and you need proper planning. Ask for a meeting in advance and specify the reason for your meeting. This is not a meeting to discuss “matters pertaining to me” or “my financial issues” but a meeting to discuss “my request for a salary review and increase/raise /improvement”. That’s what it is, call it by name. This will also help the employer to come prepared and thus make the meeting more constructive and fruitful.
7. HAVE A DRY RUN
Sometimes when people want to ask for a salary increase they lose their cool and start behaving and thinking irrationally and subjectively. This is an emotive subject. Many have managed to secure the meeting and completely froze in front of the employer or boss. Alternatively they would get cold feet and cancel the meeting. I suggest that you take time to practice your strategy, storyline and you are calm. Get your partner /friend or someone you trust to act as the employer and play a “devil’s advocate” by asking difficult question and also critique your storyline. This may help prepare you to stand strong in front of your boss.
8. SHOW UP AND PRESENT YOUR CASE
If you don’t show up, your case will not present itself. It is you who is feeling the pain and must communicate this to the employer. If you don’t pitch up, the employer may assume that this is not so critical after all.
Good luck to you in getting that raise you deserve. I will be keen to hear from you if these tips have indeed assisted you in your quest.
BEST OF LUCK!!
LinkedIn: KC Makhubele