Asking for a raise at work

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I had a listener ask me for some help on how she should ask for a raise at work. So I thought it would be good to tackle the issue of how to ask for a raise at work and also, as a manager, what to do when your employee asks for a raise.

Q: Should employees ask for a raise or wait until their boss offers one?

– There is a saying that you get what you ask for – so when it comes to asking for an increase, you should ask for it – respectfully and for a good reason – because you’re worth it!

Q: How should an employee ask for an increase?

– First of all, you have to convince yourself that you are worth it – so that means that you should feel that you have mastered what is asked of you at the job and that you are contributing significant value to your organization. You should look at how the organization is doing, and the circumstances. If the timing is right, and you can justify how much value you are adding, then decide how much you would be happy with and ask the boss?

– Always approach the manager with tact and professionalism. This is not a time to make ultimatums, or to whine and complain. Simply ask to meet because you want to discuss compensation. I suggest a two meeting approach. In your first meeting, raise the issue of compensation and that you would like to ask for an increase. Describe the reasons for getting an increase – what results have you generated, perhaps you are helping train new employees, perhaps you helped attract or retain a major customer or contributed ideas for cost savings. When asked how much, you can either say a specific number or percentage, or you can ask the manager to consider it and that you would like to meet again in two or three days.

In the second meeting, be prepared to negotiate. Ask the manager what amount they would consider. If it is acceptable, take it, If not say that you were expecting more and why. Be prepared to ask for a third meeting, or accept the increase as an interim, with a promise to review it again in the future. You can also ask what the manager would like you to do to justify a larger increase next time.

Q: What should the boss do when asked for a raise?

– The manager should listen to the employee. The manager can ask what has prompted the employee to ask for an increase. They can ask what specifically the employee has done to add value to the organization. The manager can ask what level of increase the employee would like. If the timing is bad for business reasons, the manager can decline an increase or give a partial increase and let the employee know what they should do to position themselves for a larger increase down the road.

– If the manager can approve an increase and the employee deserves it, then go ahead and approve it. If not, set a time to reconsider and the circumstances – then be prepared to follow up as agreed.

– If the employee is off base and does not deserve an increase, tell the employee what they need to do to earn more in the future. This is why regular performance discussions are helpful.

If you are a manager or a future leader be sure to register for the Exceptional Leadership Seminar in Windsor on March 1st from 9 AM to 3:30 PM.