When it comes to asking for a raise, you may not even know how to begin to approach the topic, much less in a tactful way. Money is still a taboo subject in American work culture, so some find it intimidating, uncomfortable and just plain awkward to ask for what they believe they’re worth.
If you’re hoping to ask for a salary boost, it is vital to come to the table prepared and ready for a level-headed, data-backed, professional conversation. To help, we asked 13 Forbes Coaches Council members to share their best tips for employees looking to ask for and negotiate that raise they’ve worked so hard for.
1. Do Your Research
Do your homework! If it’s been more than a year since your last raise and you have gone beyond the norm, you have every right to ask for a raise. But do so only after you have thoroughly researched salary bands for your type of position and can justify and quantify an increase. An employer will have more respect for you when you come prepared and are also willing to listen to their point of view. - Cheryl Amyx, 4CEO, Inc.
2. Quantify Your Results
Whenever I asked for a raise in corporate America, I was sure to consider what my goals were prior to this point and if I achieved them. If so, share the numbers. Even if I didn't exactly achieve my goals, I captured what it was that my team achieved and what role I played in achieving these results. Finally, it's always useful to capture how your soft skills impacted quantifiable results too. - Rosie Guagliardo, InnerBrilliance Coaching
3. Align Yourself To The Job Requirements
Asking for a raise and negotiating a salary for a new job is quite the same. Inventory your knowledge, skills and abilities and align them to the requirements of the job. Identify how they have improved quantitatively since you started. Determine the return on investment your actions have brought the company. Being armed with data will help you negotiate a salary you are worth. - John Knotts, Crosscutter Enterprises
4. Take A Value-Based Approach
The vitality of your career is based solely on your behavior, attitude and factual performance. Before you ask for that raise, gather the facts and prepare a case that reflects the added value you provide the company, your team and your boss. Justify the ROI by documenting the quality, excellence, sustainability and profitability you offer. Your negotiation language should be that of value. - Lori Harris, Harris Whitesell Consulting
5. Present The Theoretical ROI
Among many other ways I have seen work is to show your impact by calculating a theoretical ROI. Since most employees don't have access to employer financial data, it may be hard to calculate one's impact. However, with a bit of creativity and solid reasoning, one can create a compelling illustration of your contributions. It is worth mentioning that such a method would rely heavily on proper reasoning. - Kamyar Shah, World Consulting Group
6. Measure, Achieve And Report
Know your metrics for success. What were the outcomes that you achieved and how did they measure up to the expectations set by your boss and your company? Having the ability to clearly articulate your results as well as the actions you took to achieve those results will indeed give your boss little reason to question your worthiness for a raise, given all other parameters of success were met. - Debbie Ince, Executive Talent Finders, Inc
7. Think Of The Cascading Benefits
Many who struggle to negotiate on behalf of their own interests gain confidence when they realize their success will also benefit others. Whether it's thinking of one's family or thinking about the overall importance of fair pay for society, I encourage everyone who is preparing for salary negotiation to spend a few minutes considering who else could potentially reap the rewards. - Sarah Greenberg, BetterUp
8. Focus On What's In It For Your Employer
Don't make it all about you. Absolutely highlight all of the great things you have contributed to the organization, but that is not enough. What is in it for your boss if they do this for you? Get really curious and brainstorm as many benefits as you can think of! One example is loyalty—you'll continue to be committed to the work that you're doing for your boss and your department. - Andrea Janzen, Andrea Janzen Professional Coaching
9. Think Beyond How Hard You Work
When asking for a raise, make it about the organization, not about you or your financial situation. Showcase what you have created, streamlined, improved or innovated that has had a measurable impact on the effectiveness and/or finances of the organization. Working hard alone won't cut it. Remember to be mindful of the timing and compensation policies while you stand tall and ask for what you deserve. - Mari Carmen Pizarro, Whole Leadership Systems
10. Consider The Timing
It's not enough to know what to say or how to say it—you have to know when to say it. Timing is everything! Be mindful of your organization's budget cycle and bonus schedule. Also, schedule the discussion for a time when you won't be interrupted and consider when your boss is at their best. - Amy Leneker, Compass Consulting, LLC
11. Combine Assertiveness With Curiosity
Start with a declarative statement, not a question. Something like, “Reflecting on my performance over the last year, and what others earn in similar positions, I believe I deserve a raise.” Follow that with a question: “What’s your perspective on that?” If you don’t get a positive response, try: “If you don’t think I’ve earned a raise yet, exactly what would you need to see to change your mind?” - Dr. Joel M. Rothaizer, MCC, Clear Impact Consulting Group
12. Stay Objective
When asking for a raise, use an objective and factual approach rather than one with any hint of emotion. Prior to the conversation, summarize data that shows your employer's improvement in one or more performance metrics. Be prepared to describe specifically what you did and when that helped move the metric(s). Tell the story, objectively, that explains how critical your work was to the improvement. - Arleen Gomez, Arleen Gomez
13. Listen And Respond Appropriately
One important tip for employees looking to ask for and negotiate a raise is to be prepared for questions and to research salaries in your position. It's imperative to be able to verbalize your recent accomplishments in a detailed but swift manner. Listening is key in negotiation in order to respond appropriately and to stay in control of what you want. Always convey confidence in your communication. - Elizabeth Ruiz, EAR Enterprises
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