Getting your boss to agree to a salary increase is rarely smooth sailing. From timing to lack of funding, we've all heard a heap of excuses as to why our request is being denied. While you can't reclaim lost raise opportunities from the past, you can follow these tips to make sure your next review meeting comes with a nice salary bump.
Before the meeting:
1) Gather as much information about your annual performance as possible.
Whether it's putting together your past sales data or showing how the work you did directly impacted company growth, compile as much data as you can to prove your value and show your contributions. Highlight your rock star moments-like when a presentation you did landed a new client or an idea you pitched saved the company time and/or money. Put together a quick fact sheet of qualitative and quantitative data helps your case for a higher salary.
2) Put your salary against others in your company or field.
If someone has worked for the company for less time but makes more or has fewer responsibilities than you but a higher salary, use that information to your advantage. Exhibit to your boss that you have coworkers with similar skills or experience that make X% more than you. If you can't get your hands on current salaries of people you work with, just do a little research. In a time like this, Google is your friend. You can find company or industry salaries on sites like Glassdoor or Salary.com for free.
3) Don't set up an impromptu meeting.
No boss wants a meeting that starts with, "Surprise, I want a raise!" If you're going to ask for a raise, do so at your annual review. If that's too far off, time your request to follow a successful project or your team's acquisition of a new client. Piggybacking on a recent win will make your request more justifiable in your boss' eyes and lessen the likelihood they'll ask to revisit your request at the end of the year.
4) Shop the market.
Going on a few interviews can seriously help your negotiating game, and after haggling with Human Resources you'll feel more equipped to deal with your own boss. Shopping around will also give you an idea of what the competition is willing to pay. Use those figures as bargaining chips when presenting your request. Be careful when dangling bait in front of your boss though. If you're threatening to jump ship for a better paying company, your boss might just give you the boot rather than bite.
During the meeting:
5) Get an alliance. Or Two.
No matter where your land on the ladder, every job directly impacts other people. If you are an assistant or work on a smaller team led by a manager, first discuss your raise with your superior. This person knows your value more than anyone else in the company because their success is a direct result of yours. Ask them to go to bat for you, whether that's stepping up in your meeting or speaking with the boss beforehand. When your request for a raise comes with references you have a better shot at leaving your review victoriously.
6) Don't lead with money.
Start the meeting by reviewing your accomplishments and letting that lead to your compensation. Simply state that you don't feel your salary accurately reflects your contributions. Point directly to roles and responsibilities you've acquired since starting your position or receiving your last raise. When you can prove your salary is far behind your growth as an employee your petition will be more plausible.
7) Avoid small talk.
Even if you're chummy with your boss, letting the conversation go off-topic or get too friendly can weaken your respectability. If you have a friendship outside of work, or simply engage in office banter from time to time, try not to let this meeting be about your kids or Sunday's game. Stay on the topic of your performance and talking numbers-then catch up after you've successfully negotiated.