Would you rather stay at your current pay level or get a raise? The answer is obvious -- who wouldn't want a bigger paycheck? While you may be ready for a boost to your bank account, don't be so sure that your boss agrees. Your supervisor will consider many factors before giving your bigger paycheck the green light.
How can you figure out if it's the right time to ask for a raise, as well as the odds of getting it? The following tips will help you determine if now's the time to meet with your boss or if you're better off waiting.
Do your homework. Just because you want a raise, it doesn't mean that your company believes you deserve it. No matter how well your company is doing, its leaders have to make smart decisions about money and can't always offer the lavish thanks you may believe you deserve.
How can you make your case that a raise will make everybody happy in the long run? First, do your homework. Know how your salary compares with the market value compensation for your role. Are you being fairly compensated, or are you being undervalued?
Next, read your company's compensation policies. Have you met its criteria, or can you find a policy in your favor? Take notes while you peruse the information to put together a solid case for yourself. Are there minimum compensation adjustments or a maximum amount you can earn? Do performance evaluations serve as the basis for determining raises?
If your company doesn't have a compensation policy and many don't -- you may have more wiggle room. The average raise can range from 3 to 5 percent. While you may want to jump for the 5 percent raise, can you prove that you deserve it?
Create your own self-evaluation. It's essential that you not only know what you're worth when you want a raise, but that you can back up your request with proof. Whether you want a raise now or in a few months, keep a list of accomplishments that you update regularly. That way, you don't have to scramble to come up with them on the spot.
Your boss will be most convinced by numbers and facts. What extra duties are you taking on that would otherwise go unfinished? What work are you doing that would otherwise have to be done by hiring a new employee? Work out the numbers of how much your work costs and whether or not you're being fairly compensated.
Plan your approach. Once you've assembled your materials, get your pitch ready and choose the right time to meet. Consider all factors when picking the right moment. Did your company have a good quarter? Are raises being planned for the near future?
Also consider your boss's performance. If your boss has been slacking lately or didn't receive a strong performance review, it's unlikely that she'll be able to sign off on a raise. Even small factors such as how your boss has been feeling can matter. Avoid bringing up a raise right after your boss was out with the flu or is dealing with a client crisis.
Allow yourself enough time with your boss to present your case and have an open conversation about getting a raise. When you are able to make a fair and well-presented case for yourself, you can confidently expect a positive outcome.
Be ready for 'No.' If your request for a raise gets turned down, don't get caught by surprise. Your boss will most likely share her reasons for denying the raise, so listen up. The company may not have the money, or she may believe your performance doesn't justify a raise. Take her response as constructive criticism. It will help you plan how to improve your work performance and help you prepare for the next time you ask for a raise.
Susan Ricker is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com and its job blog, The Work Buzz. She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.
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