5 Steps to Asking Your Boss for a Raise

It's around that time of year. You're getting feedback on your performance and waiting for the awkward conversation to come up...

... "Let's talk about your salary and bonuses." 

Waiting for their decision feels like waiting to see who wins a sports match. Have you scored the raise you deserve? What if you lost and missed the opportunity to get a pay raise this year?

Well before you feel your fate has been decided, imagine a different scenario.

Instead of seeing it like a game you have no control over, imagine you're asking your date to take you to the restaurant you'd prefer to eat in. You have two options.

(A) You do whatever your date wants. You don't ask for anything and you gladly accept wherever they take you.

(B) You ask for your preference and say why you want to eat there. If you're on the same wave length and they're convinced by your suggestion, you'll eat at that restaurant. If they disagree, then you won't. But at least you asked.

Negotiating for a pay raise is sort of the same thing.

Your boss will offer you a figure and if you agree, you can accept this raise. But if you disagree, it's a free world. You're always welcome to negotiate.


Here are the five steps to asking your boss for a pay raise

#1 - Get clear on why a raise is important to you

Before you ask for a raise, ask yourself why you're asking for it. No manager signs off a raise simply because you want more money. Everyone wants more money.

And if you're not clear on why it's important to you that you get this raise, how can you convince your manager this is an important conversation to have?

Your negotiation is more likely to be successful if this pay raise is genuinely important to you, and your request doesn't feel greedy or superficial. 


#2 - Make a case for why it's important to your company

Even if you're clear on why you should get a raise, it's not necessarily in the companies best interest to give you one. 

Which is why it's crucial you make a business case for why it's logical for them to pay you more. There are two ways you can do this.

(A) You get clear on what professionals in your field are getting paid

If your salary hasn't been climbing as fast as the market rate and you find yourself being paid considerably less than your peers at other companies, you'll have a strong case to justify a raise.

Companies that care about recruiting and keeping the best talent always want to be paying them at competitive rates. Simply because they don't want to lose them. Some HR managers even go as far as giving all employees a pay raise comparable with the market rate. 

If they don't care about paying you at market rate, then you'll have a reality check. You'll need to evaluate whether you want to work for a company who pays people less than others.


(B) You show them that you're worth every penny

Your manager, the executives, finance and HR department all have to be convinced your raise makes sense. If they do, then it'll get approved. If they don't, even if your manager wants to give you a raise they may not have the authority to.

To convince decision makers your raise is appropriate, give them undeniable and strong facts about what you've done for the company.

Evaluate and share how you've gone above and beyond your job description. Record how much money you've made the organisation and what measurable and important targets you've helped them hit.

If your numbers add up, their more likely to add numbers to your pay raise.


#3- Get clear on what you truly want

Before you ask for a raise, there's something you need to know. Is the raise what you want or would you prefer something else?

Sometimes people get fixated on salary. However unless your salary increases by 20% or more, you won't see much of a change in your monthly income after tax. And even if you did, money doesn't make you happy.

So ask yourself this question... "What would make me happy?"

Is it financial security? Or would you prefer to work from home once or twice a week or have a flexible work schedule? Maybe you'd like an extra vacation day? You could even ask for a gym membership. Or paternity package.

Some of these things are naturally temporary, may cost less than a raise and might make you feel more fulfilled.


#4 - Prepare for your Presentation 

Prepare your case in advance and ask your manager for a one-on-one catch up.

Timing is crucial. Catch them in a bad or rushed mood and they're less likely to listen. Catch them in a good mood and they're in the swing of saying "yes, yes, yes.... or I'll think about it."

To avoid catching them at the wrong time, don't send an email, don't ask for the raise on the phone, don't ask for it in a quick 5 minute meeting and certainly don't ask for it when they've been short with you or others in your team.


Instead schedule a 30 min to an hour catch up to discuss work, preferably off site like in a calming coffee shop. This will create an intimate and quiet moment to have an honest conversation about how you feel about your salary. Ask if there's room for negotiation and go from there.

But before you go into the meeting, meditate, exercise, run a bath ... do something that'll help you unwind, relieve anxiety and feel confident for when you have the conversation. 


#5 - Feel grateful for the outcome

Last but not least, be grateful.

If you get the raise, be grateful to yourself for standing up for yourself. Be grateful your manager listened and granted your request.

And if you don't get a raise, be equally as grateful. I know it's hard when you hear a no... particularly if your manager laughs at you or makes you feel you're being unreasonable.

But remember the point of negotiating isn't to get what you want. It's not a game where someone wins and someone loses.

The whole point of negotiating is requesting your preference and learning to negotiate a deal you and the company are happy with. It's a skill that can take time and experience to develop. And by practicing it today, you'll do better next time.

And whatever happens, not getting a raise doesn't always mean you aren't valued. Sometimes deals don't go through for reasons beyond your control such as budgeting constraints.


My intention is to help you gain a deeper understanding of how negotiate your salary and benefits package. So please leave a comment below sharing what you too have learned about LinkedIn.

Hundreds of incredible people read this blog every week and your comment may help someone else get a breakthrough too. I can't wait to read your comment.