Article_GettingARaise_iStockphotos.jpgI remember a classmate in college who monitored her grades very closely.  She wanted to be a consistent Dean’s Lister and so she studied very hard to make sure it happened.  Once, she wrote a formal letter to one of our professors to give her a higher final grade in our Botany class and proceeded to list down the reasons why she deserved it so that she could qualify for Dean’s List. It worked.

Now grades are not exactly the same as salary brackets but the idea of negotiating and justifying a higher value is there.  If you’ve been at your job for a while now and are receiving a rate that was acceptable at the time of your hire but has remained the same for the last two years despite your sizable contribution and productivity, then perhaps it’s high time you negotiate for a raise.  Here are some tips to help you get the salary you deserve.


Look up in your company handbook policies on compensation and salary increases.  Find out when salary increases and bonuses are announced and released during the year.  What are the bases, computation and how can you be eligible for them?  Is there a salary freeze?


Detail what you currently do for the company and the unique value you bring as an employee.  Challenge yourself to illustrate yourself, your work and your contribution as indispensable. These days, pay is given based on performance and no longer on tenure.  The more tangible and measurable your contributions and performance is, the better. Show areas where you excel and show the steps you’ve taken for your areas for improvement.  Attendance records, your performance review form, e-mails with positive feedback from clients or co-workers and management are some other data you can use to help argue your case -- that you deserve a raise.  


Have an exact value in mind when your boss asks how much you want for your raise.  Do your homework and research on the market value of your current role in the industry you are in.  Ask for advice from friends in similar positions, companies and industries or even from your HR compensation and remuneration specialist if you can.  Find out if there have been others in your company who also negotiated for a raise.  How did they go about it? What percentage increase is acceptable or recommended?  Furthermore, rationalize and justify the value you’ve identified again with the value-adding work you deliver to the company. Avoid using personal circumstances (family or financial problems) or comparison with other colleagues as your reason for the request for a raise.  Chances are some other person’s personal circumstance will trump yours.  Stick to your performance card.


Depending on the rapport you have with your boss, you can choose to schedule a meeting at her/his office or discuss your agenda over lunch or coffee.  Catch him/her in a good mood to increase your chances of a positive encounter or discussion.  But schedule it and don’t just drop in unannounced in an ambush style which will likely guarantee failure to communicate your case effectively.  


Timing your salary discussion is crucial.  Know the financial calendar and climate of your company so you can time your meeting well.  Did the value of company stocks dip recently?  Is there a rumor that a wave of lay-offs is coming soon?   Is the company unstable or volatile at the moment?  Are you confident and happy enough looking at your individual performance in the past year?  Consider these time-sensitive factors when scheduling a discussion.


Prepare for NO as a response; however, do not settle right away with NO as the final answer.  Should your request be turned down, find out when a raise in your pay may be more appropriate or ask what you need to do to get an approval for your request for a raise. Do not turn bitter and threaten to quit, even if that really is your plan B. Remain professional by dressing up appropriately for the meeting, speak in a polite and respectful manner while enumerating and explaining the details you prepared and leave the discussion with a good attitude.  


A raise is usually given alongside a promotion.  And a promotion, as we know very well, comes with added responsibility.  Show willingness for more accountability and take steps to develop new skills to be able to handle more workload.  Once you are granted your wish, there will be an unwritten expectation that you will continue delivering the excellent output you always have been and more.  Don’t feel pressured by this, but rather, motivated because you deserve your raise and it would be natural, with no added effort on your part to show the company why.



A raise may not always be in the form of a higher take home pay.  Be willing to accept added benefits, such as more vacation leave allowances, flexible work schedule, a higher or better coverage for health care, a dedicated parking lot, etc.  If taken as a whole, your overall compensation and benefits would have still increased in value.


Salary raises are not approved and released overnight.  Set a next meeting as a venue to follow through on the agreements set and to provide more information on your performance, if necessary, so that you ensure that your salary raise is not a forgotten topic of discussion.


Read more on this topic with this related article:


(Photo by ©iStockphoto/Chris Gramly Photography)

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