How to Negotiate a Salary Raise

Believe it or not, bosses aren’t known for playing fast and loose with their company coffers. That’s why, even if you are the most valuable employee on your company staff you will, especially in these tough economic times, need to do more to negotiate a salary increase than perhaps at other time. You might also need to initiate the process of prying a raise from your company.

It’s not encouraging to know that according to a recent national survey, the average raise given to employees by their employer is 2-3 percent. This is easily eaten by inflation, and thus is beyond the scope of this article. Instead, this article is intended as a primer for those intent on a significant increase in their salary, something well beyond the ordinary paltry increase level afforded by most employers.

According to another survey, about two-thirds of employers reward employees based on differing levels of performance, which can provide for much larger increases in pay than the across-the-board pay increase. If you are not working for such a company, by all means try to move into such a situation. These types of performance-based increases are much easier to obtain based on verifiable results. This is not to say that a more significant raise in salary is not possible in the latter form of company, but it is normally not as easy to accomplish.

From the Beginning…

It is critical to understand that the day you first begin to work on your next pay increase is the first day you walk through the company’s doors. You read that right. From the very beginning of your employment with a company and every succeeding day hence, you need to keep uppermost in your mind that your purpose is to do everything you can to deserve a salary increase. That doesn’t mean begging for a handout. That means to honestly deserve an increase in your salary. Otherwise, there’s a good chance that you will end up receiving the same pittance cost-of-living increase, if that much. You want it to haunt your employer’s conscience if they don’t reward you for the contribution you make their success.

Below is a list of the strategic and tactical steps you need to perform in order to deserve a raise within the next 12 months.

  1. Determine your worth.

    The first step you need to take in order to promote yourself within your company is to look outside. That might sound strange, but it’s the step you need to first take to find out where you stand in the marketplace. It doesn’t matter whether you are an accountant or a custodian, you need to find out what other workers in your job classification and in your geographic area are making. This includes not only salary, but benefits and other perks too. Check employment ads, agencies, even your competition, to find out what others pay for a person doing your job.

  2. Do it better.

    You have, up to now, looked outward to determine your worth in the marketplace. Now it’s time to look inward, and that doesn’t always mean looking at your company. It also means taking a good, objective look at yourself. What does your job description say that you should be doing in order to satisfy your employer? Now determine if you are honestly living up to your employer’s expectations for your position? If you are, congratulations. You have just determined that you are worth what you are being paid, but that’s not your goal. Your goal is to receive a salary increase, which will entail doing more. Maybe even a lot more.Next, you need to determine what you can do to better do your job and make yourself a greater asset to the company you work for. You might find that this is the hardest but often the most creative part of the salary increase process.Can you work longer hours? Are there processes that you can find that can be done better? Can you make doing your job more efficient? Are there additional responsibilities that you can do?All of the things you think of to do should be aimed at making a real difference in the bottom line for your company, no matter how indirect that impact may be. The point you are trying to make is to break the status quo, to establish new standards, and bring your job and yourself to a newer and higher level. Rest assured that you will be noticed as a result.

  3. Build your confidence.

    There’s an old saying in business that public relations is having something no sooner done than said, but it’s true. Don’t brag, but let others (especially your supervisor) know what you have done and make them notice the difference you have made for the company. After a while it will be hard not to notice the difference, and people will be talking about you. Further, you will realize the difference you are making and this will build your confidence for asking for a raise.

  4. Prove it.

    At this point the chances are good that not only will you be deserving of a raise, but you might even get a salary increase before your review time is due. After all, no employer wants to lose a valuable team member, and the more they can do to keep good people, they will do it. Regardless of how this evaluation takes place, you need to provide verifiable proof of what you have done to benefit your employer and deserve a raise.

  5. Be assertive, but not demanding.

    Demanding more money and benefits will only result in a trip out the front door, along with your pink slip, but you need to be assertive in your request for a raise. It’s a good idea to rehearse what you will say during your meeting with your supervisor, and make sure you have proper documentation for what you are asking for.

  6. Ask for the moon, but settle for the stars.

    Asking for more than you think you will receive will give you negotiating room for when your supervisor offers you less. This “wiggle room” will make negotiating more comfortable for both sides.

By following these steps you will probably receive an increase in your salary that you are entitled to, maybe more.

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