5 Steps to Take Before Asking for a Raise

Most fiscal-years end on June 30th, and companies are preparing new budgets, hiring for new roles, and the dreaded performance review process. If you are considering asking for a raise, this is the right moment to do so. Yes, even during a pandemic.

Before requesting a meeting with Human Resources, take these five steps to identify your preparedness for the conversation:

  1. Conduct a self-appraisal - Identify your strengths, accomplishments for the year, and the areas of growth. During this self-refection, document the instances that you have resolved a problem for the department, have tried a new approach, and be clear on the unique strategies you are using. Get data on your impact and always focus on what you learned from the process. It would be best if you also had clarity on the areas where you need to grow and develop your learning. Identify how you can get this knowledge: mentoring, coaching, webinars, courses, or new projects.

  2. Do research on your field and role - Start by doing an occupation search on Glassdoor or Payscale. Learn how much people get paid in your state and area and compare to your current salary. Every situation is unique. You might have more projects than others in similar positions or work in a high-risk environment, but knowing this information will give you clarity on where your salary is on the scale. I also encourage you to search on LinkedIn for similar positions in your area and check the salary ranges.

  3. Gather documentation to support your request - Write down your most significant accomplishments and strengths from your self-appraisal. Include any peer or customer reviews that were positive, projects, or tasks you led, and how you continued to learn when there was a skill or knowledge gap.

  4. Take an inventory of your current salary and benefits - What else would you like to see? This inventory will help you identify other areas you might want to negotiate. The benefits you will consider are increased vacation and sick time, tuition reimbursement or professional development funds, retirement account match, and remote work arrangements. Also, consider other non-traditional benefits like a shorter workweek, investment opportunities, mileage or commuter expenses, a decrease/increase in different projects or responsibilities, and anything that will allow you to be your best self professionally and personally.

  5. Know your employer's COLA trends - This stands for Cost of Living Allowance, and many employers raise a small percentage of all salaries based on changes in the cost of living every year. Know if your company provides this benefit and if it will be included automatically to your payroll. I have seen many cases where people negotiate a 3% salary increase, and the company had already planned for that same percentage as a COLA. If you are not sure, ask your peers or the Human Resource department and get clarity on their practices.

After you follow these steps, consider what your request will be. You are informed on the field, your company culture, and the value-added from your work this past year. Write three scenarios of what you want to negotiate, starting with one that is above what you want. Use a mixture of salary increase and a benefit (10% salary increase and an extra $1K for professional development) that will significantly impact your life. Then create other scenarios for your counter-negotiation.

Likely your employer will refuse your first request, so you want to make sure you can create different options for yourself. The data you have collected will help you rest your case and allow you to make informed decisions on your needs.

Let's hop on a call so I can help you practice for the negotiation and help you create an action plan.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

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