How to ask for a pay rise

In this posting from the LinkedIn Agency Influencer program, Alex Delehunt advises you to play your cards carefully when entering into the most treacherous of workplace conversations

You’ve been kicking goals at your job and you know that your colleague in the exact same role is earning $5,000 more than you. Chances are your manager is never going to ask, “Do you want a pay rise?”

That’s why you need to navigate this tricky (and sometimes awkward) conversation with your boss yourself. Here are some tips for asking for more moolah:

1. Before you do anything, understand your company’s procedure on pay rises

You may need to consult your employee handbook or policy guide (or be really nice to your HR Manager) to get a thorough understanding of exactly what the guidelines around raises are. Do these only happen at particular times of the year? Do you need to have been with the company for a certain period?

Does it only get looked at on your work anniversary? The more knowledge you have of the process, the better you can time your conversation and get the best result.

2. Know your worth

Do some research here. There are lots of companies like Hays, Hudson etc. that publish salary bandings for generic roles. Make sure that what you’re looking at is realistic and in line with what you actually do otherwise it’s not worth the bit of paper it’s printed on.

Also have a look at your competitors. Many job listings on Seek or LinkedIn will actually state the salary range on the job ad and that’ll give you a good benchmark of the salary range you’re playing in

3. Collect some evidence

Most organisations will require their employees to work towards measurable KPIs or individual goals. How have you stacked up against yours? There’s no point in having a conversation with your manager around this if you don’t have any evidence of you going above and beyond what is required of your role and meeting expectations.

A job description can also be useful here to compare what you actually do against what it is you should be doing in your role. Have you had any great feedback? A nice email from a client praising you on doing such a good job? All of this is useful to prove to your manager your worth.

4. Schedule a time

Put some time in your manager’s calendar and let them know in the invite what the meeting is about. There’s nothing worth than feeling ambushed as a manager. Make sure you allow at least half an hour to discuss the possibility of a raise properly and make sure you book a meeting room or at least have this conversation somewhere private. After all, there’s a chance you not get the answering you were looking for.

5. Ask for a little bit extra

Chances are this will turn into a negotiation so going in with a figure slightly above what you’d be happy with is necessary. If you can show your manager that you’re flexible and willing to compromise, than your chances will be much better. Having a number and not budging from it will make it tough when the answer is a flat out no and leave you with no wiggle room. Think of it as reverse bartering.

6. What else can they offer?

Your company may not be in a financial position to offer you an increase now. But there are other things that may be on offer. Always wanted to do an exchange in your sister office? Had your eye on that training course? Would you really value to be able to work from home once a week? Depending on what is important to you, these other options may even trump the salary increase you were after.

7. Run your own race

You heard that your colleague was on $5,000 more than you and they’re in the exact same job so therefore you deserve the same right? Wrong! Never compare yourself to others. You don’t know how long they have been with the company, what extra they may do without your knowledge and it looks really petty to throw this into your negotiation. Negotiate based on your own merit and not on how much better you think you are than your desk buddy.

What not to do?

Don’t threaten the company that you have an offer with Company XYZ and they’re offering you $10,000 more for the same job. Especially not if you don’t even have the other offer. What if your company said, “sorry we can’t match that”. You are going to be mighty red-faced trying to back out of that and you’re just going to make your manager defensive.

So do your research, have a grown up conversation and use this feedback as a gift. If it is a no to an increase right now, then you’ll at least know what you need to do to get one next time and perhaps have gotten some other non-monetary reward out of it. You never know until you ask!

Alex Delehunt is people and culture manager at Publicis Media

To see more pieces from the LinkedIn agency influencer program click the image below.



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