You may be thinking about having a conversation with your boss about a raise. You’ve worked hard, and you believe you deserve it.
But before you march into your boss’ office and have that conversation, you need to think through your approach. After all, more is at stake than just the raise. How you approach this conversation can determine how you are perceived for the future. Making a mistake now can affect your prospects of raises and promotions for the duration of your tenure with the company.
Here are some things you definitely should not do:
1) Don’t make yourself and your needs the focus. An employer will not be impressed if you say that you need a raise because you recently got married, had a child, or just bought a house. This is a great way to ensure that the employer does not take your request seriously. Your request for a raise has to be focused on the company and what you have done for the company that merits a raise.
2) Don’t sound apologetic. If you are asking for a raise, it should be because you deserve a raise. Although you should avoid sounding cocky, you also don’t want to sound as if you are apologizing for asking for a raise. Make your business case and be confident about your abilities.
3) Don’t schedule a meeting with your boss about a raise before you have done your homework. You should know what you plan to ask for based on actual research. It is critical that you know what percentage is typical for your organization when it comes to raises, and you also need to find out what the going rate is for someone with your background and skills.
4) Don’t box your boss into a corner. It’s likely that your boss may not have sole authority to give you the raise, even if your boss believes that you deserve it. Often, your boss will have to ask upper management to authorize a raise for you. Senior management may deny your request based on business needs. That being said, asking for a raise should not be an all or nothing proposition. If your company denies your request, have a backup plan. You can ask to revisit the issue in six months, and/or find out what the criteria is for receiving a raise. That way you can work towards that goal so that even though the answer may be no for now, you have not closed that door for the future.
So the bottom line is this. You don’t want to set up yourself up for failure. You want to set yourself up for success. Give your boss and even your boss’ boss a reason to say yes to your request. If they can’t say yes right now, at least give them the opportunity to say yes in the future.