People Operations
How to Ask for a Raise at Work
Featured Today

How to Ask for a Raise at Work

February 12, 2019
Asking for a raise at work

How to Ask for a Raise

  • Consider the sensitivity of money
  • Manage your expectations
  • Learn to compromise
  • Evaluate your own work
  • Demonstrate you deserve a raise, not that you need it
  • Keep it simple: Three pillars of support

Whether or not we like our jobs, we are dependent on them for providing the funds we need to live on a day-to-day basis. There are plenty of factors that influence what kind of job we have—economic status, personal passions, health restrictions—but everyone in the workforce is bonded by the fact that they are working to earn a living. It’s no wonder, then, that some of the most common stressors in a work environment are related to employees’ salaries, and more specifically, how to ask your boss for a raise. Asking for a raise can be one of the trickiest subjects to approach your boss about, but we’re here to help you see that it’s less complicated than you think.

Remember Money is a Sensitive Subject

Before you think about asking for a raise at work, it’s important to consider the sensitivity of the subject in the first place. Money and wealth are traditionally private aspects of a person’s life, although we have all come across people who surely have no discretion when it comes to broadcasting their earnings. Combine the already-prickly subject of money with your work setting—where you spend most of the waking hours of your life—and you’ve got a doubly formidable obstacle to tackle. Discussing something so personal with people you may only know professionally can feel uncomfortable, but conducting this conversation maturely will ultimately prove your value in the office.

Manage Your Expectations

Asking for a raise may be an extensive, ongoing process and you may not get what get what you want right away. Be prepared to manage your expectations and compromise on something you may not have planned for. The process of asking for a raise should show your boss, despite the end result, that you know how to negotiate in a professional manner. Perhaps the conversation about getting a raise will be the very thing that proves to your boss you are worthy of one.

Evaluate Your Own Work

Before you approach your boss about getting a raise, you should make sure you’re in a position to ask for one. If you’ve been at the company for less than a year, for example, it’s probably not time to start negotiating salary increases just yet. It can be difficult to know when to ask for a raise, but make sure you’re at the very top of your game when the time comes to broach the subject, positioning the proposed pay increase as a complement to the outstanding work you’ve been doing. While it’s a bit absurd to be terrified to negotiate your livelihood with the person who decides it, there aren’t unlimited opportunities to tackle the subject either. Make sure the time is right.


Prove Your Worth

When it comes time to actually have the conversation, there are certain ways you should go about proving the larger point that you deserve to make more money. Start by sharing your goals and detailing how you’ve accomplished them or are working toward meeting them in the near future. Perhaps you stress the completion of a specific goal that you outlined with your boss during a previous meeting. Demonstrate the ways you have excelled at the specific duties of your job and how you’ve enhanced the overall work environment. The truth may be that you need a raise because your landlord just hiked up rent or to cover some personal bills, but you should frame the conversation around the fact that you deserve the raise, not that you need it.

Keep It Simple

There are probably thousands of things flying around in your brain at the moment you’re sitting face to face with your boss about to have the raise conversation, so it’s in your best interest to keep it simple. Try to focus on what’s ahead and discuss your performance in the office as it relates to the well being and future of the company. To streamline the discussion further, come up with three strong and concise reasons you deserve a raise and allow those to bolster your argument throughout the conversation, almost the way you would state a thesis in an essay. If the conversation starts to digress, you can always bring it back to your trustworthy pillars of support.

Written by:

Kait Hobson
Workplace Innovation