As the cost-of-living soars, it may seem like a good time to approach your boss for a pay rise. But with businesses under increasing cost pressures, persuading your boss that you deserve a salary increase won’t be easy.
Sue Andrews , HR expert at KIS Finance has been looking into the best ways to make sure that your request is heard, at a time when everyone is hoping to see their salary increase to keep pace with rising prices.
Sue says “going the right way about asking for a pay rise can make all the difference. Just asking your manager and hoping for the best is unlikely to work, when they have so many competing pressures on their budgets. But by following these 10 simple tips, you can really improve your chances of successfully negotiating with your boss and getting the pay rise you deserve.”
1 Don’t just use the cost-of-living argument
Everyone is affected by the current rising cost of living so basing your argument for a pay rise on this is unlikely to succeed.
Businesses are also suffering from rising costs and won’t automatically want to raise staff wages as this will further escalate their costs.
If you are going to succeed you need to make an individual case for why you are worth more due to the contribution that you make, not just that your current salary isn’t going as far as it used to.
2 Don’t compare your salary to colleagues
It’s tempting to use this as a basis for asking for an increase but making it personal is a mistake and can have a negative effect on how your boss reacts to your request.
Doing your research and knowing what the going market rate is for your type of role is a far more professional approach and makes for a more persuasive argument.
3 Don’t make emotional arguments
Base your negotiation on facts and go in well prepared. Present clear evidence to your boss of what have you done in the last year that has positively impacted on the business.
What have been your key accomplishments? Depending on your job, this could be the number of sales you’ve made, deals completed, new initiatives that you’ve helped to launch or ways that you have improved systems. They don’t all have to be big ticket items, sometimes a number of small changes can deliver really positive results.
Your boss may not always know all the things you have delivered on, especially in a large team, so don’t be modest and make sure you share all of your achievements.
4 Be realistic
It’s no good asking for an unrealistic sum as your boss won’t take you seriously if you appear to have plucked a figure out of the air.
Make sure you have the evidence to back up your request, such as salary survey data or job adverts and descriptions for similar roles.
5 Timing is key
Asking for a raise when you have just delivered a really good piece of work or had some positive feedback from a customer is always a good time.
Also be aware of the company’s financial position. If things are really tight, you may be better to wait and make your request at a later date rather than get turned down.
6 Put your request for a meeting in writing
This not only gives your manager a chance to prepare but also makes your request more formal, and therefore harder to ignore.
You don’t need to go into full details in the letter, just simply outline the reason for wanting the meeting and the broad reasons why you think a salary review is appropriate. You can then share your supporting evidence when you meet.
7 Confidence is essential
It’s natural to be a bit nervous when asking for a pay rise but you need to display confidence to show that you really believe you deserve the increase.
Fidgeting or not making eye contact when you speak undermines your authority, so it’s important to focus on your delivery. Sitting up straight and maintaining a friendly and calm tone of voice will make you appear in control. Remember to also speak clearly and slowly as it’s tempting to try to say your piece as quickly as possible.
Referring to notes of your key points is also a good way to ensure that you don’t forget anything important and cover all the points that you want to.
8 Be prepared to consider benefits outside of hard cash
Your employer may genuinely not be in a position to give you a salary uplift, but they may be able to improve your benefits package in some other way.
If you think this may be the case be prepared to ask for alternatives such as more holiday, an increased car allowance or perhaps new training and development opportunities.
When times are hard this gives your boss the chance to show how much they value you in a more affordable way.
9 Remain professional
Above all it’s essential that you remain professional and don’t get emotional when asking for a raise.
Managers are human too and they won’t like feeling that they have been pushed into agreeing to something. If things become heated, you’re not only unlikely to get a raise, but you may also find it damages your future prospects too.
So, make sure you conduct yourself in such a way that even if you don’t achieve the increase that you wanted, you will still have enhanced your manager’s opinion of your value to the organisation.
10 Never threaten to quit over pay
However strongly you feel that you deserve a pay rise, threatening to quit if you don’t get one, is a highly risky strategy.
Even if you succeed in getting the raise you are likely to have permanently damaged your professional reputation as you will be seen as difficult and, potentially manipulative. This could even affect your reference if you subsequently leave the company, so the impact could be a lasting one.
If your current salary really is a deal breaker, then give your employer every chance to address this. But, if you are still unhappy with their response, then it may be time to look for another job.