How to Ask Your Boss for a Well-Deserved Raise

Close-up of hands counting dollar bills

Are you feeling overworked and underappreciated?

If you’ve taken on additional responsibilities or you’re a key member of the overall function of the department, it might be time for a raise to keep your motivation levels high.

But if the thought of approaching your boss and asking for a raise makes your stomach do somersaults (we totally get that), you might be having second thoughts. And that’s where we come in!

To help you out, we’ve devised a 10-step guide to get you on track and request the raise that you truly deserve.

Here’s how to ask your boss for a raise.

 

 

1. Get the Timing Right

Timing is everything when it comes to asking for a raise. Catch your boss at a bad time, and you will instantly be shut down. And encourage a conversation after a recent success can make the world of a difference.

That said, there a few other opportunities that are perfect for asking for a salary review. These include yearly appraisals (where you will have the chance to highlight your successes, discuss your progression and build a case for a pay rise), or monthly reviews (where you may have a one-on-one chat with your boss to discuss progress or any issues). You can also ask for a raise after you’ve landed a big client or achieved great success (as the universe is in your favour, it’s your opportunity to show how important you are to the business and why they need to keep you happy, too).

 

2. Warn Your Manager in Advance

Don’t ambush your boss when you’re ready to ask for a salary raise. You’ll not only make them feel uncomfortable, but you may also ruin your chances as your manager won’t be fully prepared for it. Instead, send your boss a quick message and ask if they have time for a private chat to discuss your performance, goals and pay.

You can also send a calendar request to ensure that the meeting doesn’t slip their mind. However, if you know that you have a performance review coming up in a month’s time, you could send your supervisor a message to inform them that you’ll also be intending to discuss pay – this will be beneficial in cases where managers already have their team budget to offer yearly raises.

 

3. Research the Average Pay

Before you go into your meeting and throw around absurd amounts, it’s important to know your worth. And if you’re unsure of what that is, it’s time to start researching.

Luckily, there are many sources with reliable salary information, including Glassdoor, Indeed and PayScale, that can help you better understand the monetary value of your work. You can use your findings to compare your current salary and determine whether you really should ask for a raise.

Another useful method to determine the average pay of your position is through job boards – many employers advertise the going rate for similar jobs, so you can research what other companies are offering and also use this evidence to support your argument for a raise.

 

4. Consider Asking for Additional Benefits

When asking for a salary raise, it’s necessary to prepare for all outcomes. So, let’s assume that your boss says ‘no’ to an immediate increase. Why not throw some other options on the table that will make your life a little easier?

This could include remote working, travel reimbursements, extra holidays, funding for additional training or double pay when you work overtime. These types of benefits won’t cost the company too much money and will make you feel more valued as an employee.

 

5. Always Have the Conversation in Private

It’s always a good idea to ask your boss for a salary raise in private. If you are a remote worker or if your boss is in a different location, a video call will suffice. Just make sure that you’re in a secluded spot where no one will be able to walk in and interrupt your discussion.

Whatever you do, don’t have the conversation by email or through instant messaging. You’ll not only come across as unprofessional, but you also won’t be able to judge your manager’s reaction.

 

 

6. Back Up Your Claims with Achievements

Before you ask for a raise, you need to look back at your recent achievements. What have you done to add value to the organisation? When have you exceeded expectations? And how did you shine on any given task?

When forming your case, be sure to always use specific data and provide examples to back up your claims. This could include testimonials from happy clients, spreadsheets with proof of figures and good feedback from your line manager. The best way to keep track of all your achievements is to make a list of these throughout the year so you have a written record of all the additional duties that you have taken on.

 

7. Practise Your Delivery

It’s undeniable that asking for a salary increase is one of the most nerve-wracking experiences in the workplace. No one enjoys walking into their boss’s office asking for more money, but if your company hasn’t noticed your efforts, then it’s on you to shine a light on them. And, unfortunately, the only way to do that is to talk about money with your manager.

To make sure that you are clear and confident in your delivery, you should practise what you want to say beforehand. Just like your elevator pitch, make sure your argument is short, to the point and based on fact.

 

8. Dress to Impress

You should treat this conversation like you would a job interview. Your primary goal is to impress your boss and convince them to give you a higher salary, and one way of ensuring they take you seriously is through your business attire.

Smart clothing won’t only make you appear more professional; it will also make you feel more confident. Dr Adam D Galinsky, a professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, agrees: ‘Clothing affects how other people perceive us as well as how we think about ourselves’.

 

9. Focus on Why You Deserve a Raise

Many employees decide to ask for a raise because their living costs have gone up, but this is the entirely wrong way to lead into a conversation about a potential salary increase. Your boss doesn’t really care if you now have a mortgage payment or a car lease or a new baby on the way. After all, every other employee in the office can argue the same case – that’s life.

Instead, bosses want to see if you have worked hard enough to deserve a pay rise. So, even if you do need the extra money, avoid bringing up the reasons why you need a raise and instead focus on why you deserve one due to your hard work and the impact it has had on the company.

 

10. Establish a Timeframe for Your Next Steps

Now you’ve got the hard part out of the way, you need to set up a timeframe so you can receive the answer that you’ve been waiting for. A good way of doing this is by asking your manager when you will hear back from them with a definite answer.

You can also follow up with an email including the main points of your discussion. This not only summarises the pivotal reasons why you should receive a pay rise, but it also gives you an electronic trail that you can refer back to in the future.

 

 

Asking for a raise can be difficult, but the worst thing that can happen is your boss says ‘no’. Either way, you’ll be able to align your values and determine whether there are opportunities for growth within your career and your current position or if you should begin looking for a new job elsewhere.

Have you asked for a pay rise in the past? If so, share your experiences with us in the comments section below.

 

This article is an updated version of an earlier article originally published on 26 July 2017.