5 Tips for Asking Your Boss for a Raise


You’re a great employee. You work hard and have been performing better than average at your job. You get positive input from your co-workers and your manager. But the bottom line is that you’re not getting paid what you know you are worth. How do you go about asking your boss for the raise that you deserve? Below are five tips on how to ask your boss for a raise – and raise the chances of you actually getting it.

1. Ask at the Right Time 

Most employees are considered for a raise either on their anniversary date of hire, or at the time of their annual review. However, according to one expert, you should start preparing your boss for a raise request at least 3-4 months before your actual review, since most managers’ leeway for giving raises is tied to the company’s annual budget. Sometimes, giving one employee a larger raise means having to give another a smaller one, because that’s what the budget allows. You will want to ask separate from your review, even if you don’t get the raise until review time. 

2. Do Your Homework 

Do some research and find out what the pay range is for your type of position. Where do you fall within the range? You can use salary calculator websites such as PayScale.com or Salary.com to find out what your position typically pays. Keep in mind that geography is part of the equation. You can consult Glassdoor.com to find out actual salaries for some companies. You can also consult mentors and other business associates to understand how you fit into the pay scale picture. 

Also, find out if your company has policies in place when it comes to raises. Some companies allow for a certain percentage in annual raises, for example 2 to 5%. If you go and ask for a 10% raise, you are not likely to get it, because it’s not in the budget or not commiserate with your position. One strategy is to ask for a promotion that would support a larger raise. 

3. Prepare to Demonstrate Your Value 

What have you done to add value to the company? Be sure to list your accomplishments – including successful projects, a saved customer, increase in revenue, positive co-worker feedback – whatever shows that you have added measurable value and contributed above and beyond general expectations. List these things in a concrete fashion, and use hard facts and numbers wherever possible. 

4. Practice What You’ll Say 

Before you set up a time to meet with your boss, practice how you will pitch a raise, handle objections, and validate your value to the company. Make sure you communicate why you deserve a raise, not why you need one based on personal expenses. Also, be prepared to present to your boss what the market value is for your position, based on the research you did. The more you prepare your pitch in advance, and practice overcoming objections, the more confident you will be when you actually sit down with your boss. 

5. Present Your Case Confidently 

You’ve done all the preparation. Now it’s time to meet with your boss. Make sure you communicate in an effective, factual matter. Don’t let the conversation get emotional. If your boss agrees with you and grants the raise, great! If your boss says he/she would like to give you a raise, but can’t right now, discuss the reasons why and see if you can set up a time to revisit the raise increase. You may also ask to take on added responsibilities to validate the raise. It’s important that your boss agree with you that your performance warrants a pay raise, so ask for ideas on how to improve performance if that’s the objection. If your boss doesn’t budge, you’ll have to decide whether you want to continue to work at your company for the current salary. Don’t threaten to leave your job if you don’t get what you’re asking for – managers don’t like to feel they are being held hostage. 

Remember, a fair salary is nothing to shy away from. If you are a great employee who is adding value to the company, a raise is a win/win for both you and your employer. The more proactive you are, both in your job and in advocating what you’re worth for doing that job, the better chance you’ll have at getting the raise you deserve. 

Do you have a plan in place for how you will allocate your pay? Our free Money Management Planner offers worksheets and tips to help you create a strong financial plan. Download your copy now. 

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Trish Reske

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