How to Get a Raise in 5 Simple Steps

The year is quickly coming to an end, and for many, that signals the fourth quarter is right around the corner. We all know what that means – year-end performance evaluations and opportunities for raises and promotions will be here quickly. Do you have high hopes of getting a raise or a promotion this year? If so, now is a great time to prepare for these interviews and evaluations, and put your best foot forward.

With a little extra commitment, combined with some practice and preparation, you can increase your chances of getting a raise with five simple steps.

Compensation Trends

Before we dig into the five steps, it’s helpful to familiarize yourself with some recent salary trends. Studies have long associated women’s lack of assertiveness in salary negotiations as a common explanation for the 21 percent gender wage gap in the U.S. However, recent research shows that young women, in particular, are stepping up and receiving raises just as frequently as their male counterparts, which is wonderful news.[1] If the trend continues, it could help shrink the gender wage gap in coming years.

Curious what the average raise forecast is in America? The projected mean for U.S. salary budget increases in 2017 is 3.1 percent, quite similar to 2016. That doesn’t necessarily mean that every employee should expect to get a 3 percent raise next year, however.[2] Budgets vary from one company to another. Plus, there can be a widespread in raises between the top and low performing employees within the same company.

For example, a top performer might expect to receive 1.5 to 2 times the median salary increase, or upwards of 6 to 8 percent. On the other hand, an underperforming employee may only receive a marginal increase in compensation or none at all.

5 Steps To Getting a Raise

Source: SHRM

Turn Fear Into Determination

It can be scary asking for a raise if you’ve never done it before. Feeling nervous or intimidated about the whole process is completely normal, so relax and give yourself a break. Rather than let your emotions paralyze you from taking action, try to use your feelings and passions as mental fuel instead. Think positively – the more you want something, the more likely you are to take action. Plus, the worst that could happen is your boss simply saying no. But if you let fear prevent you from asking for the raise in the first place, you’ll likely feel more disappointed in yourself and left wondering “what if?”

Analyze and Promote Yourself

Before asking for a raise, it’s a good exercise to self-analyze your recent work performance. Have you been working on the pointers from your last review? Have you reached or exceeded your goals? If you answered yes to both questions, you’re on the right track. Take a few moments to jot down a list of your recent accomplishments and the skills that set you apart from your peers. Not only will this improve your confidence, it can also help you prove to your manager why you believe you are worthy of a raise.

Research the Market

It’s important to be aware of your company’s health before asking for a raise. If times are tough and talks of layoffs are circling around the water cooler, it’s probably not the ideal time to ask for more money. You don’t want to come across as being insensitive and out of the loop. If your company is profitable and actively hiring, however, it could be an opportune time to stand up and highlight your dedication to the job and desire for a bump in compensation.

Strengthen Work Relationships

The stronger your relationships are at work, the better your chances become at getting a raise. Anybody can just show up for work. But if you go the extra mile, help others and get to know your boss and work colleagues, that shows you genuinely care about your work and want to be an active part of the company in the future.

Have an Open Conversation With Your Boss

Every manager is different, and some are naturally easier to talk with than others. Even if you don’t know your boss that well right now, always remember, you have the power to change that. Get excited about having open, honest conversations with your manager. The more comfortable you are, the better off you will be. Once you feel ready to start a dialogue about getting a raise, be sure to pick a convenient meeting time so you both can remain focused and neither of you feel rushed. Understand you might not get an immediate yes or no, so be patient. No matter what happens, show appreciation for the feedback you receive.

Remember, when you work hard and prepare, you position yourself for success. Use these five simple steps on how to get a raise, and you increase your chances of a positive outcome for your income. Whatever the result, be proud of your accomplishments and never stop learning.

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Related Articles

[1] Lartey, Jamiles, “Women ask for pay increases as often as men but receive them less, study says,” The Guardian, September 5, 2016.

[2] Miller, Stephen, “Salary budgets expected to rise 3% in 2017,” SHRM, July 27, 2016.

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