Know Your Worth, Show Your Worth: Asking for a Raise

Career coach, Marie McIntyre, says it best: “People get raises because they add value, so instead of pleading for an increase because you need it, explain why you deserve it.” In 2014 employers anticipate doling out raises that average 3%, according to a Towers Watson survey of more than 900 companies. So, how do you get a piece of the pie?

Stand Out
Your work should be worthy of more money. What sets you apart from others in your company doing the same job and also from the person above you? Are you taking on more responsibilities? Have you been proactive about imagining and implementing new ideas in your department? Most likely, your boss will have to get permission from someone else to give you a raise or promotion. So how are you making yourself known in the company without being disruptive? In 2013, the Towers Watson survey found a wide disparity between pay gains of those people who were considered “stars” and those who rated as average performers. High performers received average raises of 4.3% to 4.5% while mediocre performers received only 2.6% raises. A raise is a response to a higher level of achievement.

Catalogue Your Successes
It may be that you are achieving above and beyond, but that effort is going unnoticed. When approaching leadership, you must be able to point to the successes you’ve had so far. Be specific. It will help to come in with a documentation of tasks and accomplishments and an understanding of how your work contributes to the company’s bottom line. Consider the important habits and traits you bring to the work environment, and highlight those as well.

Know the Facts
Of course, different companies develop their staff in different ways. How quickly does your company tend to promote? Does your company give a basic annual COLA raise or are they open to merit-based raises? Talk with your HR manager or a trusted veteran co-worker to learn more about compensation policies, increase practices and salary ranges so that you have all the necessary information to make a judicious request.

Make Your Ask
If you’ve been a top performer and communicative about your successes, it may be that you simply need to ask for what you want. Take timing into consideration; if your company’s in a slump or has had a bunch of layoffs recently, your request may fall on deaf ears. It’s great if you can time the meeting to follow your completion of a big project or taking on of new responsibilities. Be bold! Avoid bringing your personal financial needs into the conversation and keep the focus on your work for the organization and on the company as a whole.

If the answer is no, don’t be discouraged. Ask what you might do to position yourself for a salary increase in the near future. Now that you’ve taken the leap to initiate the conversation, it won’t be as difficult to revisit it.
Any Boston area women who want to delve further into this topic and other ways to accelerate your career should join me at this Young Women in Digital event on March 12th.  Hope to see you there!