6 Secrets to Getting a Pay Raise in 2018

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Happy worker
Antonio Guillem / Shutterstock.com

Unhappy with how much you earn? If it’s any consolation, you have a lot of company.

Just 19 percent of American workers are comfortable with their rate of pay, according to a recent survey by Indeed. In fact, more than half of the workers Indeed surveyed say they would need an extra $6,000 annually to feel satisfied.

If you are among this group, it might be time to ask for a raise. Here are six steps to making sure the discussion goes well and results in a bigger paycheck:

1. Prepare for the conversation

You’ve decided that you deserve a raise, so spend some time getting specific about it.

What dollar figure or annual percentage increase are you looking for? Once you’ve decided on the amount, arm yourself with the facts you need to make a compelling case for higher compensation. When talking to your boss, focus on:

  • How your duties have expanded since you were first hired.
  • How your efforts have resulted in business and revenue wins for the company.
  • The new qualifications, education or accomplishments you’ve brought to the table.

Knowing what you want and being able to support it with facts will give you a much better chance of success.

2. Time it right

It’s true — timing is everything.

If your company or organization has regular salary reviews, plan on initiating your raise discussion 90 days before the review cycle begins. This gives upper management time to consider and integrate your increase into the broader compensation budget.

If you start too early, you’ll need to have an awkward reminder conversation later. On the other hand, start too late and you’ve just given management the perfect reason to say “not now.”

3. Do a little digging

This is where doing your homework matters. Current and clear market data can help support the salary increase you’re asking for. Use sites like Salary.com or PayScale.com to research salary averages for your position. When doing this, keep in mind that company size, geographical location, industry, experience and educational level are important variables in compensation rates.

4. Strike the right tone

In our digital world, it’s easy to forget that striking the right tone is an essential part of conversation. Remember, you’re a professional who brings valuable skills to your job. So, outline your contributions and present your case confidently, directly and respectfully.

Make your conversation truly conversational; the last thing you want to do is to ask for your raise in the first five minutes, get a negative answer and have nowhere else to take the discussion.

Also, avoid uptalking, the pervasive speech pattern where everything a person says sounds like a question. Uptalking implies that the speaker is unsure of the validity of what she’s saying and is open to altering her viewpoint if presented with a differing opinion.

5. Expect pushback and have a Plan B

Simply put, you should anticipate objections. While managers are trained to bring out the best in their employees, they’re also keenly focused on costs. Employees who are successful in getting what they ask for anticipate specific objections and are prepared with well thought-out rebuttals.

Before your meeting, put yourself in your manager’s shoes. How might you try to avoid or delay a pay increase request from one of your employees? Once you know the potential roadblocks, you can better navigate any detours the conversation may take.

Being flexible is a big advantage when negotiating. That’s why it’s also important to have a clear Plan B when broaching the topic of compensation.

If your manager can’t increase your salary by 5 percent, what other potential solutions might get you closer to where you want to be? Consider asking for a 2.5 percent raise now and revisiting the topic in six months. Explore adding levels of responsibility that might justify a pay increase, or suggest formalizing a flexible work arrangement one or two days a week.

6. Follow up

If your raise request is denied, try to keep the topic alive. As mentioned above, ask to revisit the subject in a follow-up meeting next quarter or in six months. Economic factors are cyclic and keeping your request open and top-of-mind can help later.

No matter how the conversation goes, try to wrap things up on a positive note. Remember, your discussion is also a chance to build a rapport with your manager, and every one-on-one interaction is an opportunity to make an impact. Accepting success or failure with the same amount of grace can go a long way professionally.

Have you recently asked for a raise and gotten it? What strategies helped? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page

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