How to Ask for a Raise

The Before, During and After of Asking for a Raise

by Spero Financial

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Whether it’s due in part to getting through the pandemic or Great Resignation, or simply a matter of timing, many Americans this year will breach their supervisor’s offices in order to request a raise. And while an increase in pay is never guaranteed, there are good signs. Even though only 37 percent of all workers request a raise, 70 percent of those who do ask will receive one, according to a survey by Payscale. The odds are good.

So, if you’re one of the 37 percent, start here with a few insights on timing, how to prepare for the talk, and things to remember when you sit down with your boss.

When to Ask for a Raise

If you’re planning on requesting a pay increase, one thiIf you’re planning on requesting a pay increase, one thing to consider is the timing of your ask. The wrong timing can result in a “no,” even if you’re qualified for the pay bump. Here are a few things to consider.

Have you recently received a raise?

If you’ve received a raise in the past year, that may limit your ability to receive a new one, unless you’ve been given significantly more responsibility or taken on new job responsibilities since that point. However, if it’s been a while, or your last raise was incremental, you may be able to prove that an increase is worthwhile.

What is the annual schedule for budgets?

Before you make the ask, make sure you know the annual schedule for corporate budgets. Oftentimes, once an annual budget is finalized, it can’t be adjusted in a major way, which means outside what is already planned, you may be out of luck. Make sure you’re timing your ask before those final line items are approved and set in stone. In a calendar year budgeting process, this usually means September/October (before budget finalization but while it is top of mind for management), is a great time to ask.

Do you have a Performance Review coming up?

For companies who execute annual performance reviews, you may want to hold your ask until that conversation, especially if you’ve experienced big wins that you expect to come up during the discussion. Using a pre-scheduled time that is already dedicated to what you bring to the table could reduce the stress or hassle of another, extra meeting.

How to Prepare for the Big Ask

Once you have the timing worked out for your request, make sure you take some time prior to so that you can prepare the pitch itself.  Here are a few things to do prior to the meeting that will help set you up for success.

Get Feedback

Best done throughout the year, getting solid feedback from your peers and direct leadership can often give you the positive step up you need for an ask later on—whether that’s to prove that you’re doing well, or to take constructive criticism and get better.

Note your wins

After you have feedback, make a short list of your wins. Were there big projects you helped bring to life? Did you help solve a significant problem, or can you point to your impact on the company’s bottom line? The more you can do that—and offer proof of your wins and their significance to the company—the better chance you have to get the numbers where you want them to be.

Do your research

Before you go in, know what a reasonable wage to ask for is for your position. With websites like Payscale and Glassdoor, you can research similar job descriptions and determine what a reasonable range may be. Remember, however, to keep your searches local—big cities tend to pay more simply to cover a cost of living, and those wages aren’t typically accounted for in smaller markets.

Practice your pitch

Let’s get real: asking for a raise might make you anxious! While you don’t want to sound like a recording, practicing beforehand helps remove the anxiety and emotion from the situation, and makes you comfortable in actually asking the questions necessary.

Final Tips on Asking for a Raise

You’ve determined the best timing and practiced your pitch—but when it comes time to actually asking there are other things you should keep in mind to ensure the best outcome for yourself.

Firstly, make sure you ask for the raise you deserve, not the one you need. It’s not a company’s business of how tight you keep your checkbook, how much debt you have, or your goals for the next year. Don’t assume they’ll be interested in that or that that will have an impact on the final decision. Instead, use hard data and evidence-based information in order to make your argument, and discuss what you are entitled to because of what you bring to the company, and how you can help them progress in their goals this year.

Whatever you do, though, make sure that your ask is clear. Practicing beforehand will help, but don’t muddy the waters by letting a conversation drag out. Be confident and concise; show what you’ve done, your goals and impact, and then make the ask. Simple will win over complex every time.

What to Do After the Ask

After the ask, a decision will no doubt be made. And whatever it is—”no,” “not now” or “yes”—you’ll want to have considered your next steps prior to even asking.

If you get a no

According to Payscale, when workers don’t believe their employer’s rationale for denying a raise, they are more likely to quit. If your plan is to stay and try again, take a minute to ask the hard question: what would make it a yes down the road? Once you have some firm objectives in front of you, you can make a decision as to whether or not the job is still a good fit, and how you can tackle your new challenge.

If you get a yes

If you get a yes, congratulations, but you’re not done yet! Before you wrap the conversation up and plan your new budget, make sure you are clear as to whether or not the increase comes with any strings attached—be that new responsibilities or job requirements. This will help manage everyone’s expectations and make asking for your next raise in the future an even easier task.

We know you’ve got big career goals, and at Spero, we’re here to help in any way we can. No matter what you’re bringing in, we at Spero are grateful for your membership. Call us or come in to one of our convenient branches for more information.

This material is for educational purposes only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

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