Career / Career Development / Career Growth

Here's how you can negotiate a raise at work

. 4 min read . Written by Nidhi Choksi Dhakan
Here's how you can negotiate a raise at work

Picture this: Your boss loves your work, always notices your accomplishments and give you a raise up front. The star employee that you are (you’d also have nap pods, unlimited meals and snacks and free fitness classes). In the real world, that is rarely the case. If you want a raise or promotion, unlike the movies, you don’t get promoted just like that.

Quite a task at hand, ain’t it? Shouldn’t you be getting what you deserve anyway? Well, like someone wisely said, you gotta ask for what you want, else they’ll never know. So, how do you ask for a raise and get it too?

Prepare right

If you need to ask for a raise, get to the basics and do your research well. Figure out where you sit in the market. Talk to recruiters and colleagues to see what the market rate is for someone in your role with your experience. Keep your ear to the ground and regularly interview for jobs — even if you are not looking at change— to stay up-to-date with your industry and the salaries available.

Not just yet

Don’t go all gung-ho on your seniors just yet. After the preliminary research, look in your own den. Set up a meeting with your HR manager. Treat it as purely informational: don’t complain about your boss or demand a raise. Just focus on getting someone to explain the compensation system, how employees are valued, and what opportunities for advancement or increased pay are available now or will be in the future. Find out what your firm’s competitors would pay a person like you.

Perfect timing

Asking for a raise can be disruptive for employers, so it’s essential you get your timing right. You can get yourself labelled by senior people in the organisation as a pain in the neck, at a time when they need to be thinking more about your value if you get it wrong. Can you squeeze in your request with the pay round? This is usually done as part of the performance management process, annually or sometimes bi-yearly. If your company doesn’t have a set pay review time – or you’ve just missed it – raising the subject of your salary during your performance development review meetings is a good option.

Take on more responsibility

Want to fast-track a promotion? Prepare for the kill. Take responsibilities in your current role, and then start solving the problems that your soon-to-be self would be working on. The only way to effectively do this is through careful time management. Try to consistently exceed expectations in terms of your current role. Also, don’t wait to share all of your accomplishments at once. Let your boss know about them occasionally, so you’re already on their mind.

Talk to your boss

Where is your reporting manager likely to fit into this process? They need to be involved, even if they don’t have the power or influence to make the final decision. It’s useful to know what they will do for you, just as much as knowing what they might need from you. You can frame your effort as seeking input in finding a fair resolution. Point out that you’re paid Rs. X, but for these reasons you believe you are worth Rs. Y. In that case, what advice would he have for you about how to think through this salary dilemma? Make your manager your friend. Chances are she might help you with a tip or two.

Build your case

Think of this as a presentation: collect all the evidence of your skills. Record specific things you did and significant moments and events. Include examples of your work and projects you were on, how you work with different teams and your relationships with key people. You need to show that you’ve been working well on tasks that are beyond what everyone else is doing. Go over your track record in producing results and other stages of your work history that demonstrate your value. Even more, get your colleagues to give you recommendations.

Focus on the future

Tell the manager what they’d like to hear. When you show that you’re as invested in the company as them, and want to be a part of the company’s growth, they’re pretty much sold right there. Explain what you want to do in the future, and how you plan to contribute to the company’s growth. Start a new project, and explain how this raise will help you be in a better position to execute it.

Be prepared to hear ‘no’

Don’t be disheartened on a ‘No’, it’s not the end. If a raise and promotion isn’t going to happen right now, ask for things beyond salary such as professional development opportunities or more vacation time. Chances are, you’ll at least learn how to advocate yourself the next time.

Watch this video till the end for four mistakes to avoid when asking for a raise!

If things have worked in your favour, then bravo! If not, you should also probably start thinking about what you’ll do if your company really won’t budge. Unless you’re willing to accept being paid less than what you deserve, that means exploring alternatives elsewhere.