Setting the Stage for a Raise Request
Before detailing mistakes to avoid, let’s look at some best practices for making your case:
- Quantify your achievements: Calculate exactly how your work has saved costs, earned revenue, or otherwise benefited the company. Numbers talk.
- Align with business goals: Connect your contributions directly to company priorities and profit motives. This shows your value as a strategic asset.
- Know industry averages: Research typical pay for your role and experience level so you can objectively benchmark your worth. Using PayScale’s personalized salary survey or benchmarking from Salary.com can help.
- Time it thoughtfully: Make your request after completing a high-profile project or when leadership seems satisfied with your work. Avoid times of company budget struggles.
Mistakes to Avoid When Asking For a Raise
Here are 5 things you should not do when asking for a pay raise.
1. Don’t Ask Without Preparing
Walking into the pay raise discussion unprepared, hoping your charm will win the day, is a bad idea. You need to have a game plan and know how to effectively present your case. Before the meeting:
- Gather details on your contributions, accomplishments, and history at the company. Shu Saito, CEO of SpiroPure advises,
“If you’re able to detail and quantify the impact you have at your job in positive terms, you’re more likely to receive a positive response, even in challenging times”.
- Metrics on how you drive revenue, cut costs, boost efficiency, increase client satisfaction, and otherwise contribute hard value make your argument almost impossible to ignore. Quantify your achievements as much as possible.
- In particular, synergizing the raise discussion with your employer's systems for evaluating and rewarding performance demonstrates you're already operating within their frameworks for advancement.
- Rehearse what you want to say so you feel confident and avoid stumbling over your words.
Proper preparation demonstrates your professionalism and seriousness. You also avoid leaving important information out due to nervousness. Go in with all the talking points prepared to strengthen your request.
2. Don’t Make Demands Instead of Requests
Storming into your boss’s office and insisting on an immediate salary increase will definitely not work. You can firmly assert why you believe a salary increase is appropriate without using language that comes across as demanding or entitled.
Instead of demanding a raise, politely make your case for why you deserve one. Use language like:
- "I was hoping we could discuss increasing my salary to $ XYZ given my contributions this year."
- "I feel my work quality and impact warrant a pay rate of $XYZ."
- "I would appreciate consideration for a raise to $ XYZ based on the value I've delivered in this role."
The tone and wording of this conversation make a big difference. Framing it as a collaborative, professional discussion focused on your shared goals gives you a better shot at a successful outcome. Additionally, if you need help figuring out the exact words to use when requesting a raise while still being firm, check out this script.
3. Avoid Getting Emotional
Don’t get overly emotional, angry, or lash out if your boss pushes back on the request. Often, this can happen when employees feel like the situation is unfair. According to Payscale, 77% of workers do not believe the rationale for denying them a raise.
Irrespective of your feelings, maintain professional decorum throughout the conversation. Stay calm and constructive, focusing on how you can collaborate to arrive at a fair outcome. Here’s what you must do in case of disappointment:
- Outline what it would take to get to a ‘yes’ in the future.
- Develop a performance improvement plan you both agree to.
- Discuss opportunities for advancement to higher-paying roles.
- Set a timeline for revisiting the topic.
Remaining poised and solution-oriented in the face of disappointment or disagreement makes you look like a true professional. Plus, it keeps the door open to revisiting the issue later on. Losing your cool works directly against getting that pay increase.
Getting a negative answer to such an important request can spur difficult emotions like resentment, self-doubt, and dismay. It is just as important to be proactive about managing these feelings and safeguarding your mental health. Here are some other steps you can take:
- Vent constructively to a friend or mentor without badmouthing your employer.
- Revisit why you love your job overall and find meaning beyond just the paycheck.
- Remind yourself of your skills and self-worth outside of this one setback.
- Maintain confidence in yourself by listing past successes and achievements.
- Use it as fuel to identify growth opportunities rather than staying upset.
Process negative emotions while retaining your usual stellar performance and attitude. With self-awareness, rejection can become a growth catalyst rather than a source of bitterness.