There are many popular books about personal finance and how to grow wealth by Robert Kiyosaki, T. Harv. Eker, Napoleon Hill, and Tony Robbins. Young influencers are talking about managing their money and investing tips. However, some of us still find talking about money a taboo or sensitive topic of discussion, what more asking for a pay raise. It’s just uncomfortable.
If you’ve been waiting to get a pay rise, hoping that the day will come just because you’ve worked in the company for a few years, well… I hope you don’t wait for too long (especially if you’re working at a startup).
Employees expect automatic salary raises yearly, but what if the economy is bad? On top of that, being an all-star performer isn’t a guarantee that you’ll get what you want. Let’s not hang on to false hope. Sometimes, you have to ask for it.
Here are some tips on how to ask for a raise.
1. Take note of all your achievements and praises
Remember that feeling when HR asks you to fill out the self-appraisal form. Then, you’re trying to remember what exactly you’ve achieved. Be that person no more! If you want a pay raise, start by taking note of all your achievements and praises. Did you know that a note is one of the practical tools when asking for a raise? I do this. I create an excel sheet and note all my achievements and praises (from managers and colleagues that I work with).
Make it as detailed as possible. You could list them by month, include a Jira link, the names of the people you work with and etc. Don’t forget to include the data to make it more powerful. These details will help strengthen your reasoning.
2. Do a self-evaluation
No matter how well you do your job at the beginning of the year, your manager will consider your recent performance (3-6 months). Before you set up a meeting with your manager, ask yourself some of these questions:
- Did you deliver tasks on time?
- Did you achieve or exceed your KPIs?
- How long have you worked for the company?
- Did you offer to help or do any work out of your job scope?
- Did you take additional responsibilities?
- Did you ever propose any ideas that bring revenue to the company and execute them well?
- Did you show consistency in your performance?
This evaluation would help you to realise if you may need to polish up your self-appraisal note, your performance at work or anything that would make you feel confident that your manager will say yes. However, note that even if your manager agrees to increase your salary, ultimately, it will be the company’s decision. Thus, you must show that you bring value to the company and deserve a raise.
3. Pick a good time
Timing can make or break a deal. If your manager isn’t a morning person, approaching them in the morning to discuss a raise isn’t a good strategy. You should also consider if your manager looks stressed or calm, are they busy that day, and the company’s financial situation. If the company hasn’t been doing well, it’s not a good time to ask for a raise. But should you need it badly, you may consider hunting for a new job.
According to Suzan Lucas, writer and former HR executive of Evil HR Lady, you should discuss with your manager about getting a raise three to four months before the annual review, as it’s when the company decides the budget. Generally, companies have allocated a certain amount of money for pay raises, divided between employees. Thus, you need to present your case earlier and let your manager know about your contribution to the company.
4. Print your self-appraisal note and bring it to the meeting
I have a memorable experience of asking for a raise. At that time, I was young and looking forward to the last day of my probation. Like some employees, I was confident that I would pass the probation period. I would get a pay raise due to the value I brought to the company. However, I was soon disappointed when I read the letter from my manager. I passed the probation, and the company was happy with my work, but my salary remained the same. I did #1, #2, and #3 above — and still failed.
So, I googled how to write a letter asking for a raise and included all my achievements. Then, I passed it to my manager. As surprised as she was, she told me that she needed to discuss it with the management. Thankfully, I got the pay raise. If I could give some advice to my younger self, it would be to notify my manager beforehand and set up a meeting. I should’ve done these instead of just passing the letter.
5. Do your research
Like some people, I didn’t have any number in my mind at that time. I just wanted a pay raise. However, it’s good to research how much is the typical raise. So, you don’t feel sour about the amount granted (not my case, by the way).
Suzan Lucas mentions that 10% raise is average for a promotion, while star performers typically get 3%-5% raise. If the percentage that your manager offers isn’t satisfying, why not ask your manager what should you do for a sufficient promotion. I’m sure your manager would be happy to guide you and discuss what you should achieve, the additional responsibilities, and the skills you need for the promotion.
Before asking for a raise, ensure that you have everything documented. If you’re not looking for a promotion but want a raise, be grateful for the amount given when the company grants your request. Although you may not be getting the amount you wanted, your responsibility remains, and you still enjoy the company benefits. Do your homework, stay positive, and be grateful!