One of those awkward conversations that everyone has to have at some point during their career is the salary chat. We all love to hate it, especially when expectations are not met and you find yourself in a dilemma. Here are 6 tips for (successfully) negotiating a raise with your boss (*cough cough*).
1. Getting informed
It all starts with research. In most cases, when hiring, businesses will look at the market to understand what salary would be considered ‘competitive’ for the role they’re looking to fill. Unsurprisingly they often don’t do this research for salary increases, so you have to. Luckily there are fairly simple and easy ways to do this using tools like Otta’s Salary Checker and Glassdoor's Salary Calculator This will allow you to benchmark where you currently stand against the market, and help determine whether you’re going into the conversation with an ask that is within reasonable market expectations or exceeding them.
2. Making the ask
For many people, this can understandably be one of the nerve-wracking parts as you try to figure out the best way to approach asking. An important point to make is that transparency is key. You shouldn’t ever trick someone into an impromptu conversation about salary. When setting your meeting, be open about the fact you’d like to discuss your salary and book a substantial amount of time for you to discuss it properly. The ask can be something as simple as the below:
Dear (Manager's name),
I hope all is going well. I wanted to reach out to discuss my compensation. Can we schedule some time to chat?
3. Be clear on the ‘ask’
If you're going to ask for a pay rise, it's essential to be clear on your target salary. Start with your market value, then adjust it to suit your particular situation, such as your qualifications, accomplishments and experience. Make sure to bring in those comparisons you researched and prove your worth (sparkle emoji)
4. Be clear on the constraints & define possible alternatives
Sadly, employers can’t always give the financial raises they want. They have to consider approval from their bosses, budgetary caps and the current financial climate. By acknowledging these constraints, you can highlight how you’ve considered this and are willing to work with them to come up with a resolution that works for you both. Even though a larger salary may be the #1 aim, it can help to also define if there are any alternative changes in your compensation package you’d be happy to accept like extra holidays, increased benefits or increased equity (if applicable to your business).
5. Ask questions
If your employer says “not now but soon” ask questions about the timeline and what you can do in the meantime to secure the salary boost. This way you know what you can do to increase your chances of success when the time comes. Additionally, if your employer says “no” feel free to ask, “what would have led to a different outcome?” so you can understand why their answer is a no. Sometimes it could be something that’s within your control and you can work on but other times it may not be. If you don’t ask you’ll never know.
6. Pre-determine your possible outcomes
Before going into the meeting, take time to jot down what you see as the potential outcomes. This can help frame in your mind what a ‘win’ looks like and prepare you in advance for any scenario that may come up. It’s important to remember that a ‘win’ doesn’t always have to be getting the raise, a ‘win’ can also be you discover that perhaps you’re no longer aligned with the company and it’s time to look for something new where you can get paid what you believe you’re worth.