Few things in life give us more anxiety than asking for a raise. If you’re wondering how to negotiate a salary increase with your boss, but you’re unsure how to move forward, know that you’re not alone. Hundreds of thousands of folks are experiencing the same feelings right now.
Diamond NestEgg is here to help. From when to approach your manager, to preparing for the big question, and ways to ask it, we’re going to help you nail that raise!
Preparation is Key
Supervisors need to know that you believe in yourself and feel that you’ve earned this salary increase. Whether you’ve worked for this organization for six months or six years, your first challenge is to write down your accomplishments. Consider:
- projects you’ve spearheaded
- innovations you’ve brought to the table – even if they didn’t work out, your innovative attitude matters
- company goals you’ve helped to achieve (e.g., sales, revenue, re-branding, customer service)
- examples of your leadership (e.g., training recruits or teaching others new software)
- any positive feedback or other ways you feel you’re contributing to the company’s success and would, therefore, be difficult to replace
If you spend the time to review and document your accomplishments, you’ll feel more confident about your worth, have the supporting evidence you need to build your case for a raise and be able to more effectively communicate your value to your boss.
What if You’re New to The Job?
Maybe you were told by your interviewer that you’d be evaluated after 90 days and given a pay increase. Perhaps it’s 100 days into this job, and no one has mentioned anything about a performance review. Trust us. It wouldn’t be the first time this happened to a recruit.
If you’re still new to the company, but feel you deserve a raise for your hard work and dedication, don’t forget to jot down your:
- professional certificates or licenses
- continuing education
- degrees and GPAs
Just because you haven’t been around long enough to make an impact on the way this company does business, your knowledge and experience make you a valuable member of the team. Write down other key points about your dedication:
- you’ve brought insights and experience from your previous job
- with your fresh pair of eyes, you’ve identified new ideas and approaches
- every time you’ve been asked to cover an extra job, stay late or come early, you’ve done it
Your Wish, Want and Walk Numbers
Now that you’ve summed up all the reasons you deserve this salary increase, decide what your Wish, Want and Walk numbers are. Maybe it’s X dollars per hour. Maybe it’s X thousand per year. Your Wish number is the highest number you can say with a straight face that is still somewhat reasonable for your role! Your Want number is your ideal salary – the number that makes you feel good about how you are valued at work as well as sustain your lifestyle. Your Walk number is the lowest number you’re willing to accept – below this number, there is no deal.
We always challenge our clients to shoot for the stars. If you’re making $40K, we’ll help you build the case for $80K. If you’re making $200K, we’ll push you towards a wish number of $400K. You might not get that much, but it’s okay to ask for it if you have the right evidence behind you.
Once you’ve prepared a list of your accomplishments, and you have your three numbers in mind, it’s time to practice asking the big question.
Practice Makes Perfect
You’ll exude more confidence by rehearsing first, so practice with a friend, a partner, or yourself in the bathroom mirror. Calm statements are more impressive than questions, and be mindful of your body language and hands. Try not to fiddle with your hands or cross your arms in front of your body. These are signs of insecurity.
Your conversation should go something like this:
“Debbie. I’m glad to see you. I want to talk to you about my salary / employee review. I’ve made some positive differences here lately, and I want to sit down with you to talk about them.”
- Be ready to be rebuked. Your supervisor might be genuinely busy with another task.
- It might not be a great moment, but aside from an actual crisis – like inventory day, tax time or a massive drop in the market – don’t allow yourself to be put off for more than a day or two. Ask for a time within the next few days to sit down with your supervisor.
- Don’t lose confidence if your boss can’t meet you right now. Use those extra few days to your advantage and practice your confident assertions even more!
Now that you’re truly certain about your value to the organization, avoid epic flaws to nail the raise.
Epic Mistakes – The Salary Increase Conversation “Don’ts”
From the wrong outfit to poor timing, don’t do these things:
- Don’t ask the wrong person, or talk about your salary increase with anyone other than your supervisor. Take precautions against co-worker sabotage.
- Don’t do this over email. You can ask for the meeting over email, but the negotiation itself should always be in person. Things can often be misconstrued in an email – you may write something and your boss may interpret it completely differently. Also, you want to be able to look your supervisor in the eye and watch their body language.
- Never arrive late for your appointment.
- Dress appropriately. We cannot stress this enough! Even if your appointment is on “casual Friday” or “Hawaiian Shirt Day” wear your best work clothes. Dress it up a notch with freshly shined shoes or your best pearls.
- Don’t give ultimatums. Remember that a negotiation should be collaborative. The U.S. doesn’t negotiate with terrorists and companies don’t like to do this either.
In the end, your success in achieving a salary increase relies mostly on professionalism, proof and confidence. Salary negotiations is an important part of what we do with our financial coaching clients at Diamond NestEgg so reach out to us any time to see how we can help prepare you for long-term financial success.
Don’t need a 1:1 session? Sign up for one of our recently-launched free online financial workshops where we’ll discuss this exact topic in a future session!