By Jenifer Brown
If you believe that you should be paid more for your work and want to do something about it, you have two choices. You can find a new, higher paying job or ask for raise. Both of these choices can introduce new anxieties, but they are each a gateway to new opportunity. But if you like your current employer and believe you can grow there, it’s often a good idea to ask for raise. After all, your employer may not know that you’re dissatisfied with your pay until you speak up.
Choose the right time to ask
When you do ask for a raise, you need to choose your timing. What better time than the end of year evaluations! Make sure you also ask yourself these questions as you’re identifying the right time to ask for a raise.
How is the financial health of the company/hospital? If the company is not doing well, this is not the time to ask for a raise. As an employee, you may be aware of the company’s financial health. You should look for warning signs, such as cutbacks in spending or layoffs. Check the news for stories about your employer or industry. Do company research and, if possible, look at financial reports.
How is your manager’s workload? If you know that your manager is under a lot of stress or focused on too many things right now, it may not be the time to ask for a raise. Paying attention to your manager’s moods and identifying how to help them demonstrates a level of maturity that will be useful to mention in your conversation about compensation.
Get salary trends
By learning about the salary trend for your job title within your city, you will have a foundation for understanding the monetary value of your work. From there, take the following steps:
Compare what you’re currently being paid to the trends you find. Where you fall within that range may affect the increase in pay that you ask for.
Consider your education, years of experience, years you’ve worked for your current employer and any specialized skills or attributes you bring to the table. These all add value by increasing your ability to perform the job. Ideally, your employer would take them into account when determining your compensation.
Make a list of your accomplishments, taking note of which ones added the most value to the organization. When possible, use numbers to illustrate an accomplishment.
Identify a salary range or percentage increase in pay that you’d be happy with. Note that 3% is considered an average or even generous pay increase. That shouldn’t necessarily deter you from asking for more if you believe your current pay is significantly out of alignment with what you could earn, but it can give you an idea of where to start.
Set a meeting
It’s ideal to ask for a raise in person and in private. If you’re not in the same location as your manager, have the conversation over a video call, if possible.
Do not ask for a raise without setting an appointment on the calendar first. The best setting is a room with a closed door. Don’t discuss it in common areas, such as a kitchen or hallway. If you can avoid it, don’t ask for a raise in an email.
Prepare what to say
You should prepare what you’re going to say to get a raise. Go into this conversation knowing that you deserve a raise and communicate your confidence.
Focus on the professional rather than personal reasons why you deserve this raise. Follow up with specifics: cite the research you’ve done on salary trends, and examples of your work that justify a raise. Include an actual metric if possible in percentage or dollar amount that makes the value of your work clear. This could be in either money you made for the company or savings to the organization.
Be ready for questions
If you’ve asked for a raise at a good time and given evidence that you deserve to be paid more, you should expect your manager to give your request careful consideration. You can expect them to ask you follow-up questions, such as inquiring about the details of your recent accomplishments or the salary research you’ve done.
You can also expect there to be some negotiation. Listen carefully to how your manager responds to your request. If you feel intimidated at any point, return back to your evidence to strengthen your case. Ask your own questions to understand where they’re coming from. Phrases such as “Can you tell me more about…” can create space in the conversation for more understanding.
If a raise doesn’t seem possible at this time, you may consider asking about other elements of your compensation, such as vacation time or flexible hours.
Thank your manager
Regardless of how the conversation goes, end it by thanking your manager for their time. Later that day or the next, send them a follow-up email that recaps your reasons for asking for a raise and includes a summary of the conversation you had.
If your manager needs to ask someone else about your raise, this email will make it easier for them to have a conversation on your behalf. If they rejected your request for a raise, this email can serve as a record of the conversation. You may decide to request a raise again at a later date, and you can reference this email at that point.
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