Read this before you ask for your next pay rise or risk getting a no again!

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Every employee dreams about the day they will get a pay rise. For most people, the waiting period can run into years. It doesn’t even matter if you ‘deserve’ it, you either still don’t get it or even worse, you get the silent treatment.

Let me share with you a process to guide you through your next raise conversation. Every company has a process regarding reviews and rewarding employee performance, however, in many cases, these processes are subject to other factors.

I have split this into what you should do at 3 critical moments:

  • A long time before asking
  • Just before asking
  • At the point of asking

Note: This guide is likely to work for you if you are a  top performer at work. You must be skilled, competent, have a good work attitude and deliver results at work.

Please understand that the length of time you have spent on the job does not in itself entitle you to a pay rise. I have heard a lot of people become disgruntled because someone newer on the job got a pay rise while they didn’t and the only claim is that they have been there longer.

The only way length of time can be considered as a factor for reward is if it translates into increased expertise i.e you now do the work faster, better and achieve superior results, then your longevity is translating to real value for the company. This also means you must learn to communicate your value, not just in length of time, but actual impact.

Let’s get started on the guide.

Step 1 – A long time before asking for a pay rise.

Plan your request

I will recommend you plan your request for at least 6 months in advance. I don’t mean thinking about it in your head. Instead, you and your boss should know that in 6 months time, or during the next yearly review, you will be asking for a pay rise. This gives everyone enough time to plan, with no surprises. When you don’t give enough time for your boss to consider your request, he or she will likely say no, especially if you just walk into your review meeting and asked for a pay rise.

Define and agree to the rules of engagement –

This can be challenging, but you should push for it. Ask your boss ‘what do I need to do OR what additional KPIs do I need to meet OR  what additional responsibilities should I take on to be eligible for a pay rise because I am looking to make more money and I am willing to do more.

This approach suggests that:

  1. You are currently doing your job well. If not, you risk getting fired for asking to do more when you can’t even do your job well.
  2. You understand that doing your job well means you will get your salary. You only deserve a raise if you do more than your current job.

In most cases, many bosses will be excited that you want to do more, while they ignore the increased pay part initially. So it is very likely your boss will give you increased responsibilities and KPIs. If you meet them, agree to a specific payment amount or percentage. Also note that at this stage, it is not the specifics you are really after, it is the understanding that you now have a legitimate reason to discuss pay rise in the near future.

Step 2 – Just before asking for a pay rise

6 months has flown by quickly and you are approaching the D-day with your boss. It is time to get your evidence of achieving the set KPIs or your performance from the additional responsibilities you were given, and importantly how it has positively impacted the company.

For example, your new responsibility is to be in charge of the office keys and open on time for customers. Let’s assume you were on time every day i.e. you achieved the KPI, it may not be enough to say,

‘I didn’t come late, give me a pay rise’.

Instead, it will help your case if you can support that statement with something like,

‘‘I didn’t come late and because I opened the office on time, we had an additional 30 clients who came in between 7:30am and 7:45am to transact.’  

At this point, there are 3 possible outcomes

1.) You did not perform at all

2.) You  performed but did not hit the KPI

3.) You delivered like a boss!

Let’s look at how you should approach this meeting depending on what had happened.

You did not perform at all

Did you do well? No? Then you should know by now whether or not you should be having this conversation. If you have not performed at all, then don’t ask for a pay rise. Instead, show the lessons you’ve learned and how you plan to improve.

You performed but did not hit the KPI

If you performed well but did not achieve all the KPIs, you can still ask and you might get something.

You delivered.

If you delivered and performed well, then go ahead to ask confidently at the review meeting.

Step 3 – At the point of asking for a pay rise

At this point, both you and your boss(es) are aware that you will be asking for a pay rise and that already makes it a good conversation, even though you are likely to be nervous. The following tips will help you to approach this step because things can go wrong quickly if you miss the mark here.

Don’t be emotional about it

You got to this point based on a carefully planned process, so stick to the facts of the matter. Irrespective of what may be going on in your life and how you need money, remember rarely would an employer increase your salary just because you desperately need more money.

State your case clearly

It is a good idea to remind everyone present on why you are having this meeting. It has been pre-planned with your boss based on clear targets. Then share the evidence and suggest that you will also like to hear their feedback on your performance. Ask for what you’d like to get based on research. Be prepared to switch request to value add if money is not available directly e.g company car, time off, additional allowances etc.

Allow them to respond

This is critical. When your bosses respond, you must pay attention because they are likely to reveal the next steps for you to get another pay rise in the next cycle. Also, experienced bosses or HR managers have learned to communicate their satisfaction with reservation, which means while you may have done well, they are likely to find other areas of improvement and make them bigger than your achievements. If this happens, don’t panic, in many cases, you will still get your raise. Don’t try to defend yourself, remember you are not on probation in this meeting, you are here to get a pay rise.

Collect it and get back to work!

Then if you are super confident, set the next date for your next pay rise meeting :).

Bonus step

This journey was about 6 months in the making. It means you are getting better and improving yourself by hitting your targets and taking on additional responsibilities.

If you feel your current employers will not fulfill their promises, this time also gives you an opportunity to look for other jobs. If you plan it well, you could even already have multiple job offers that can help you better gauge what you are now worth and will help you with negotiations.

I hope you learned something from this. Leave a comment and let me know what you like about this tip to help you in your career.

Be Generous & Share

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