When and How to Ask for a Raise: A Guide

5 minute

A professional career is analogous to a ladder. From the first rung to the second, third, and so on, there is progression. To get to the top of the ladder, you’ve got to climb the lower rungs. Similarly, you cannot expect to reach the summit of your career without securing your first job and excelling in it. 

Irrespective of your position in your existing company, you’ve probably evaluated and negotiated your value to the business. Everybody has goals and you too would want to see yourself in a particular place five to ten years down the line. If this is how you think, remember it’s normal.

To progress up the career ladder, knowing how to ask for a raise is important. Whether you want to make more money than you’re already making or feel like you deserve more, never be hesitant to go ahead and ask for that raise. 

However, there are certain dos and don’ts, and protocols you’ve got to follow. Knowing when to ask for a raise at work can be stressful. Money is a difficult and tricky subject to discuss in any situation. 

Before you go ahead and make a request for a pay raise, there are many parameters you have to analyse. 

In this blog, we seek to explain the right time to ask for a raise and how to go about the process.

When to Ask for a Pay Raise? 

1. Do not Hesitate

It’s high time companies normalise the concept of ‘asking for a raise’. A lot of employees feel hesitant before asking for one because they don’t want to come across as greedy or entitled. However, think about it this way. A raise isn’t a favor or a gift. It’s simply a tangible recognition every employee deserves especially if they’re contributing at a higher level than their previously set salary. Your manager or boss isn’t going to call it an outrageous request unless you ask for an amount that’s out of sync with the fair market value. 

2. After a Big Accomplishment

If you’ve just won a new client for the organisation you work in or have achieved a major target, there’s no better time than now to ask for a raise. Your boss/manager will be the happiest with you right now. Capitalize on the moment and make the first move. He/she will most likely give a nod to your request. 

3. If the Company is doing Well

Even before you decide to ask for a salary increment, get a fair idea on your company’s position in the market. If the moolah is flowing, the management is most likely to consider your request. To boost your case further, you can also remind them of how you contributed to the company’s success in the past. 

4. If the Workload has Increased

If you’ve taken up a new project, stepped into a new role than what you initially signed up for, or are simply filling up for a co-worker who is on leave, you deserve to be compensated for the increased workload. Also, this is a great moment to ask for a raise. However, timing is critical. You need to play smart while bringing this up with your boss. Thus, pop the question at the end of a successful project. In a few cases, if you need to know your worth before taking up more work, discuss what the new pay raise would be. With a title change, a raise is expected. Thus, it may not be much of a surprise for your boss. 

5. If you haven’t received one in over a year

Most companies carry out performance reviews every three months, six months or once a year. However, in certain smaller companies, there is no formal review process. In such cases, you’ll have to advocate one for yourself. You know you’re good at your work, devoting a certain number of hours per day and serving the company for a particular number of years. If your case is strong enough, you’re in a good position to ask for a salary hike. Set up a meeting with your manager and discuss the length of time since you’ve received a raise. 

6. If you’re not getting paid as per industry standards

If you have friends and peers working in a role similar to yours, ask them the kind of pay package they’re receiving. They should be at the same level as yours. If they’re getting paid a certain amount, maybe you can bring this to your manager’s notice. Make them understand the market rate for the kind of work you’re doing. Use this moment to demonstrate your contributions to the company. 

How to Ask for a Salary Increment?

Now that you know the right time to ask for a raise, knowing how to ask for one is equally important. The way you present your proposal can make or break the whole case. Thus, here are few points you must keep in mind: 

1. Preparing for the Talk or Meeting

Once you’ve done your research and if you feel like you deserve a pay raise at work, you’ll have to work on how you’re going to bring it up. If you want your boss to listen, you will have to be respectful and prepared. When we say preparation, we don’t mean you have to make a detailed presentation about why you deserve more money for your position. 

All you have to do is list a few points to justify the higher salary you’re asking for. You don’t have to submit this sheet to your boss or manager. It is only for your reference so that you know what points you have to mention to your boss during the meeting. List the goals you have achieved for the company as well as the additional responsibilities that have been added to your job. 

2. Rehearse and Anticipate Questions

Asking for a salary hike is a tricky space. We recommend that even before you enter your manager’s cabin, rehearse in advance and anticipate the questions. Consider the responses you’re likely to get for each of your requests. When you role-play the whole scene, having a real conversation will be much easier. You will also feel more confident and know how to address each of their questions. 

In case a question pops up which you’re not prepared for, answer it gracefully. During the preparation phase, develop a few counterarguments (respectfully) which you can lay in front of your boss. 

3. Focus on your Work Accomplishments, not Expenditures

There are many reasons you might be asking for a raise. Maybe your apartment rent has gone up, you’ve recently started a family, your lifestyle has changed and so on. Whatever be the reason, you don’t need to discuss that with your boss. It will only weaken your case. Instead, stick to business reasons, the contributions you’ve made and how you’re a value-addition to the company. Playing this card is more likely to fetch you that raise you’ve been waiting for. 

4. Be Prepared for a NO

Despite you doing everything right at the meeting, there are still chances of your boss/manager saying NO to your pay raise request. In that case, it doesn’t mean you end your negotiation. While some instantly give a firm NO, there are others who might say they’ll think about it and get back to you. Don’t lose hope. Respectfully ask them what it would take for you to earn a pay raise in the future. Maybe they think you’re not ready right now. If you still feel like you’re deserving and you’re not being paid your worth, maybe it’s time to look for better prospects. In this case, always have an alternative lined up. 

Thus, these are few crucial steps you should follow while asking for a pay raise at work. Even though you might be eager to know their answer right away, hold your horses. Be patient and they will let you know their decision at the opportune moment. 

The Bottomline: Also, don’t feel bad if your request is turned down. Maybe the company right now doesn’t have a budget for a pay raise. Wait till the company secures more clients or gets an investment, and we’re pretty darn sure you will receive the raise you’re looking for. 

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