How to Ask for a Raise and Get it: 5 Best Tips

Have you ever tried asking your employer for a raise? Are there any reasons that’re preventing you from asking for a raise?

Or, do you count among those employees that are already rich enough and don’t believe a raise would make any difference to your wealth?

Should you fit into any of these three categories of employees I describe above, this article is definitely for you. Because here I’ll be discussing how to ask for a raise and why you should indeed ask for one, regardless of your wealth.

How to ask for a raise

Why Employees Don’t Get Salary Raise?

There’re countless reasons why employees don’t get a raise despite superb performances. One of these would definitely shock you.

About two-thirds or 66.66 percent of all employees in the US never ask for a raise from their employers, finds a 2018 survey by PayScale.com. Over 160,000 employees were interviewed across America by the company. 

Though the PayScale.com report doesn’t cite specific reasons for this reluctance among employees from various sectors how to ask for a raise, here’re some common ones.

Fear of Rejection

Fears overhearing a no or a request for raise getting rejected by the employer, which could lead to embarrassing situations at the workplace ranks as the topmost reasons why people don’t ask for a raise.

Such people ask for a raise only during annual performance reviews, which could be too late: they might end up getting 10 percent lesser than what they deserve

Lucrative Income from Side-Gigs

Employees that’ve lucrative side-gigs or have superb income from freelancing never ask for a raise. Instead, they view income from their fixed job as an additional source of income that helps overcome the ups and downs of freelancing.

And of course, to remain in a profession and leverage it for freelancing. At the same time, income as a freelancer isn’t a reason not to ask for raise.

Diffidence Over Own Performance

A lot of employees never ask for a salary raise because they’ve no confidence in their own performance. Such women and men generally are victims of low self-esteem.

Hence, despite the superb performance, they believe their contributions to the employer aren’t enough to merit a raise. They don’t even expect appreciation for superb performances from their employer because of fears of under-performance.

Misplaced Modesty

Also among the commonest reasons for employees shying away from asking for a raise is misplaced modesty. This means several women and men believe that asking for a raise from the employer is immodest and goes against some vague standards.

Instead, they wait for an employer to take note of their high performance and reward accordingly. Such employees can prove dangerous since they’ll hop jobs if the raise isn’t forthcoming automatically from the employer.

Sheer Disgruntlement with Employer

Unhappy employees or those who’re disgruntled with an employer never ask for a raise. This can be a flaw with the employer too and could be a result of many factors.

Usually, these factors include overwork, wrong hires at higher positions or total breakdown of the employee-employer relationship, among others. This is also a dangerous scenario since the company could be staring at mass attrition.

There could be other genuine reasons too for not asking for a raise. For example, nobody will ask a raise from an employer whose business has run into massive losses. 

However, in the above five instances, you can easily ask for a raise and also get it. Usually, when you ask for a raise in the proper manner, employers would be willing to give one.

So, how does one has for a raise?

How to Ask for a Raise?

This can actually be a million dollar question. Actually, asking for a raise can be fairly simple, provided you’re ready.

Firstly, you need to attune your mindset how to ask for a raise by overcoming a misplaced sense of modesty, unwarranted fears of rejection and self-defeating diffidence and sense of wellbeing due to lucrative income from freelancing.

Secondly, get your facts and figures right by doing some homework before actually approaching an employer to ask for a raise.

Here are some simple tips on how to go about these two steps.

Preparing Mentally How to Ask for a Raise

Your mindset could be one of the biggest barriers in asking for a raise. This is clear from the research that clearly shows 66.66 percent of employees in America never ask for a raise. To prepare yourself mentally, follow these simple steps.

Prepare to Hear ‘No’

Always be ready to accept a ‘no’ gracefully, whenever you approach an employer for a raise. Not every employer wants to withhold proper salaries and perks for employees. However, when an employer responds negatively to your request for a salary hike, there could be some good reasons.

A raise could be awaiting you shortly or the employer could have some better plans for your future. Or maybe the company isn’t doing profits. Regardless of the reason, be willing to accept a no for an answer, without affecting your future workplace behavior.

Ask Yourself Reasons for the Raise

Convincing oneself that you require a raise is the best way to prepare mentally. Find out all the things that you could do with the extra money. And how it could help your family and yourself to afford a better life.

Think about your retirement and those golden years when you wouldn’t need to work anymore but live on returns from savings, investments and any retirement plans. 

Overcome Fears of Rejection

Fears of an employer saying ‘no’ to your request for a salary hike is the biggest stumbling block that prevents us from asking in the first place. It’s simple to overcome this fear. Remind yourself that an employer is only saying ‘No’ and could have valid reasons.

And the ‘No’ doesn’t imply ‘Never’. An employer could have genuine reasons to refuse a raise. It could be anything. The business might not be faring well at the moment. Or the employer could have greater plans for you and might be considering a promotion.

Wealth is No Barrier

You might have a superb income from freelancing or side-gigs. At the same time, you could also be a star performer at an organization where you hold a fulltime job. Therefore, there’s a very strong reason that you merit a raise purely on basis of your performance.

Your high income from side-gigs has nothing to do with your fulltime job. In fact, you’re exerting extra efforts and taking away from spare time for such freelancer income. Hence, wealth shouldn’t be a barrier that prevents you from asking for a raise.

Doing Your Homework

Before asking for raise, it’s best to do your homework and explore some facts and figures about your services for an employer. And some details about your workplace too. Generally, these facts and figures will convince an employer to agree or at least consider a raise when you ask for one.

Last Raise v/s Living Costs

Find out when was the last time you got a raise if you did get any. And if not, find how long have you been working with the employer. Considering you did get a raise a year or two ago, research a bit into your household expenses.

You’ll definitely find there’s a shortfall in savings and investments. Understand the rate of inflation since you can leverage it with the employer while asking for a raise.

Assess Own Performance

This point is particularly important for people that have low self-esteem and falsely believe they’re underperforming. Do some research on the number of hours you’re putting at work and the targets you’re achieving.

If you’re meeting or exceeding targets, it’s reason enough to ask for a raise. Remember, your expertise and education are helping you to achieve your targets. And hence, you deserve the raise.

Know Your Market Worth

Another thing that you’ll need to find out is the value of your services. Try using the ‘Know Your Worth’ salary calculator, a free resource available on Glassdoor.com.

This simple calculator gives you an almost exact estimate of how much salary you should be earning t any employer. If your employer’s name doesn’t figure on the list, you could compare it with some other, larger ones in your field.

Arrive at a Realistic Figure for Raise

Yes, it’s very important to arrive at a realistic figure for the salary raise. Because it’s on this basis that you’ll actually have to ask for a raise. Obviously, you’ll know your exact take-home salary.

Therefore, arriving at a realistic figure based on the above calculations is fairly easy. Also, calculate the percentage of salary hike you’re looking at. Use a higher mark while asking for a raise, because this leaves some room for negotiations with the employer, if necessary.

Look at Your Perks

Perks and incentives such as commissions are also something you need to consider when you ask for a raise. That’s because perks should rise accordingly with your salary.

Several employers give perks on a percentage basis of your basic salary. This means you might be getting a housing allowance that’s 10 percent of your basic salary.

When you ask for a raise, it’s natural that your perks and incentives also increase commensurately. 

Therefore, the best way to negotiate or ask for raise is by arriving at a lump sum figure that’s often known as ‘net package’. This includes basic salary and perks minus any mandatory deductions from your income.

Always ask for a raise on the basis of the net salary- or the value of your monthly paycheck.

Asking for a Raise from Employer

Now comes the trickiest part of all: approaching the employer how to ask for a raise. Obviously, you might experience the proverbial goosebumps or butterflies in the belly when it comes to actually ask. Usually, you’ll be torn between anticipation of more pay and disappointment if it doesn’t materialize.

That’s nothing to fear about. Following these simple steps can help you how to ask for a raise with confidence.

1. Secrecy Holds the Key

As a rule, never disclose to anyone, including a spouse or other relatives, closest friends and above all colleagues and peers that you’ll be asking for a raise. This helps prevent embarrassment if you don’t get one. 

At the same time, colleagues might take your cue and also rush to ask for a raise, flooding the employer with similar requests. In such cases, the employer might have to say a big ‘No’ to everyone, including yourself, to prevent the payroll budget from suddenly spiraling upwards.

2. Get Facts & Figures Ready

Figures aptly portray facts because numbers don’t lie. Therefore, get all the facts and figures ready as I’ve written above. You’ll have to leverage your current market worth, last salary hike, higher cost of living and related figures to actually convince an employer that you merit a raise.

You could show how inflation affects your future plans and those of the family while pointing out that a raise could help alleviate the situation.

3. Get an Appointment 

If you’re working for a large corporation, the person whom you could approach for a raise would usually be the human resources manager or director or even an administration official who’s got authorization to look after your affairs.

For smaller businesses, you might have to negotiate a raise with the employer or businessperson. Therefore, seek an appointment by sending an email or through a phone call. Clearly mention the objectives of the meeting- asking for a raise. 

4. Comprehend the Response

When you seek an appointment, four things can realistically occur. The person who can give you the raise calls you immediately.

Or they schedule a meeting with you. Or thirdly, they delay the meeting for some reason or the other. And fourthly, you get no response or vague response from the employer or their official. 

While the first two scenarios indicate the employer is open to discussing a raise, the third shows they require some time to prepare their discussion for your raise-either way.

Lack of response or a vague answer generally shows the employer isn’t interested in your raise at this moment or has other priorities.

5. Discussing the Salary Raise

Now considering that you get to discuss the raise, go about it politely. Since the employer or the official already knows the reasons for the meeting, it’s best to come directly to the point after exchanging traditional pleasantries as office etiquette demands.

Be ready to answer some real tough questions from the employer and responding to them with facts and figures.

6. Presenting Your Case for Raise

You can present your case either through a PowerPoint presentation or simply with notes. Personally, I would recommend a PPT since it lends a very professional angle to your presentation while asking for raise.

And the other person can take notes where necessary to consider your request for a salary hike. If necessary, you could also handover a copy of this PPT to the employer for consideration.

7. Highlight Your Achievements

The best way to present your side for a salary raise is by highlighting your achievements. Remember, your contributions towards the company are part and package of the job and don’t really matter for a hike.

Leveraging your achievements is a different ballgame altogether. It shows that you’re exceeding the expectations of the organizations which requires appreciation in the form of a raise.

8. Leave Doors Open for Negotiations

And finally, always leave the doors open for negotiations. As a rule, no employer or official will outright reject your request for a raise.

Instead, they’ll also require time to carefully consider your request, assess its impact on company finances as well as the morale of other employees in the organization.

Therefore, it’s not practical to expect a positive or negative response immediately. In all fairness, the employer also requires some time to find the merits of your claim to a raise.

Hence, afford them the time and leave doors open for negotiations.

Things to Avoid While Asking for Raise

Leaving doors open for negotiations helps end the meeting for a raise amicably. The employer and you know the right to a response.

At the same time, here’re a few things that should be assiduously avoided when you ask for a raise.

Saber Rattling 

Saber rattling is something you must avoid at all costs during any talks for a raise. Threatening the employer with your resignation or lowering performance to match lower salary are all classic examples of saber rattling.

Hence, desist from such tactics under any circumstances and even amidst provocations during the meeting.

Comparison with Peers

The second thing to avoid is comparing your salary with those of your peers in the organization. This leaves a poor taste all around.

Your colleagues might regret telling you their salary, should they learn you mentioned it during talks for a rise. And you’re directly demeaning the employer’s decision and right to pay someone more. 

Sounding like a Plea

No employer likes to hear an employee or staffer pleading for a raise. It’s a very unprofessional way to ask for a salary hike. You’re not asking for alms or charity.

Instead, you’re rightfully asking the employer to reconsider the value of your service and give a raise on basis of merit.

Hiding Intent of the Meeting

As I mentioned earlier, state clearly the reason for your meeting with the employer or the official. And that’s how to ask for a raise.

Never invite the person you’ll discuss the raise with to a coffee or other place. An office is the best place to ask for a raise and discuss it with the concerned person.

Role of Immediate Senior

The role of a person to whom you report but isn’t directly connected with the raise is debatable. However, office courtesy and etiquette demand that you take the person into confidence, albeit in a different way.

While seeking an appointment with the employer or their official, always suggest that you’d like this person to be present at the meeting.

I use the word suggest because the senior official or employer is the best judge whether or not to involve your immediate senior in these negotiations.

The employer or person concerned may wish to consult your senior discreetly to verify your claims about good performance and merits of the salary raise. Hence, you need to allow them to exercise this discretion.

When you suggest that your senior be present, you’re indicating transparency of your claim. And neither are you circumventing the proper channel. Instead, you’re tossing the ball in the court of the senior official, leaving it to their discretion.

Wrap Up

Before concluding, I’ll emphasize that getting a no as an answer isn’t any reason to feel that you’re not doing enough for the employer. Nor is the negative response any excuse to look for other jobs or downgrade own performance at the current one. Your task is simple: to ask for a raise by presenting facts and figures and leaving the employer to judge and act accordingly.

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