Start by asking yourself one essential question: what value did I bring to the organisation this year? Don’t consider what your job responsibilities are. Your daily professional responsibilities are what you’re paid to do and it’s expected that you fulfill those bullet points. Take an additional step and consider what you did that: 1) went above and beyond the call of duty (think about where you were proactive or sought roles for improvement); 2) delivered exceptional results; and 3) stood out and was not be delivered by anyone else on your team. Think about hard, tangible results. It’s not enough just to detail that you did something extra. You need to be able to provide concrete evidence of your worth to the company when you step in to negotiate a higher wage. For example, a contractor would ask you for more money beyond the original estimate because they did something additional or came across additional needs, and it’s the same positioning for your pitch.
Next, know how your compensation compares to your company, industry, and similar job titles. You can start with the most basic information available for free on the internet with the help of Salary.com. Finding out this information is extremely important because you have to go to your manager with a concrete number of your current market value. After all, you can’t approach your boss with the general request that you want to make more money. It’s crucial that you have a good idea of how much people in your position make, where you stand in comparison to that number, how much more you want to make, and tie it into your value to your specific company. It will help a great deal to understand how you are paid relative to your peers because that can give you leverage in your salary discussion. You can also try your human resources/compensation office as they may already have information regarding where you fall on the distribution when compared to your peers.
Finally, put together a comprehensive plan, considering when you’ll make the pitch and the collaborative language you will use to execute it. When it comes to building the plan, you will want to have your contributions and results ready in order to justify your requested pay increase. You will also need to be ready to discuss your past, current, and future personal development plans. Your manager will be that much more willing to discuss compensation and benefits with you when you present yourself in a manner that is committed to the organisation and positively seeking advancement beyond a paycheck. The timing of your meeting with your manager will also affect the result of your request. If the company has fallen under financial hardships, asking for a raise is most likely not going to be received positively. The same goes if you try to approach the subject during project deadlines or other times of heightened stress as your supervisor will be too preoccupied to listen to your points.
While asking for a raise is not the most easiest part of advancing your career, it is sometimes a necessary professional move. Keep in mind that your boss may not be able to sign off on a salary increase on his or her own and the initial conversation is just a stepping stone in the right direction. With a little patience, a complete plan, and a positive outlook, a salary increase might be in your immediate future.