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Negotiating A Raise

Although the task of asking for an increase in salary may be uncomfortable, it can be easier than you might think.
First, let’s review some of the wrong reasons to ask for a raise.  The first mistake made is requesting a raise because of new financial responsibilities (debt) within one’s personal life, i.e., mortgage, divorce, car payment, child education, or credit card debt.  

Employers are concerned about their employees, however, providing a raise to every person over their head in debt is not a good business practice. Another incorrect reason to ask for a raise, is your “length of service with the company.” Unless you can demonstrate how you have increased revenues by cultivating new profitable clients, or have developed new programs or strategies to generate revenue, or saved a substantial reoccurring expense, this reason is not convincing.
There are possibly only three main scenarios to request a merit increase:  added responsibilities, promotion, and outstanding performance.
  • A raise can be a reachable goal if the company has experienced a growth spurt requiring added duties, or assuming responsibility for projects outside of your position’s original scope of work.
  • Unfortunately, a promotion is not always accompanied by a salary increase. Some companies promote employees without increasing their compensation to ensure that the person can handle the full responsibilities of the position prior to reaping the rewards of it.  This is a good practice, since the added duties and title may be taken away if the employee fails to perform to established standards.
  • Outperforming the employer’s expectations is the most concrete way to land a raise. 

Make a list of your accomplishments. This list should include: a description of your added responsibilities, justification for your request, i.e. your key accomplishments, obtaining a higher education, or your qualifications and contributions, which have added to your value to the company while employed.
Although, asking for a raise may seem reasonable and achievable, if may not be fiscally possible.  Added expenses, or a reduction in company revenue, may not permit a merit increase. So, be prepared to discuss an alternate plan.  Note that you understand a company needs to attain set financial goals, but would like to discuss the subject again in six months.  

Do not threaten to find another job or quit, unless you plan to do it immediately.

Negotiating an increase in compensation should be done in a confident, professional manner, and articulated with a clear concise and convincing rationale.