How to Ask for a Raise

How to Ask for a Raise

Imagine you are negotiating for the Republicans and Democrats to become one party. I know it’s a wild stretch but the point is, you need to develop a plan for this. It’s going to take time and planning. This is not an impulsive, knee jerk, hip shot, flip conversation and if you fail at it, it might cost you the next raise.

This is an example of how not to do it for both the employee and the manager.

20 years ago I gave an employee an above average salary increase for a slightly above average performance and he pushed back and wanted more money. He didn’t have any more facts, results, data, or anything to add, he just wanted more money. So, I agreed to re-visit the performance rating and his salary adjustment with fresh eyes and also to take another look at his performance relative to a broader group, including outside my division. I told him he could take what I gave him or put it all at risk. He wanted the fresh look. I did that and included my HR manager and it netted out a slightly lower salary increase.

The guy lost his mind but the message had been sent and delivered not only to him but he shared it with to the entire team that if you want to negotiate salary come prepared, don’t be whining. He might have added a few more comments but that was OK too. I got the message delivered I wanted. Do not come to me whining about issues, come prepared.

In hindsight, this was too aggressive approach and it’s not the way to manage an employee. We were both wrong.

The best process for negotiating a better salary is to do your homework and build a proposal.

Start your planning with an HR representative. Most companies have a salary range for each job and a mid-point for each job. Find out where you are relative to the mid-point. If you are low to the mid-point that is a perfect way to start the conversation. There are lots of managers that do not know where their people stand relative to the job mid-point. You can make it easy for the manager to give you a larger raise with this information.

If you find out you are way above the mid-point then take a different approach. This usually happens when a person has been in the same assignment for a long time. They out run the mid-point. When this happens and you have had a great year, ask for a one-time bonus to reward your performance. This should equal the amount of the raise you are requesting. This is helpful for the manager because they can give it to you and not push your base salary past the range for the job and get it “red flagged” by corporate compensation. The bonus might go against their operating budget but not their salary planning budget. This is a little salary planning razzle dazzle but an effective way to get paid more for great results.

A few more thoughts that might help you increase your compensation. Ask your mentor(s) for ideas. I am certain they will have company specific ideas. Also ask the highest performers in your peer group. High performers get paid more and they will have some ideas for you. Last, do what you are doing now, research this topic on-line and get more ideas.

Last, develop your proposal, pitch it to your boss, wait for their decision and live with it. Don’t whine or complain.

The boss might have some other ideas to compensate you that they can implement down the road so don’t ruin those plans by acting immaturely when if you do not get the raise immediately.

Wayne StricklandComment