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How to improve your odds of getting a raise

Posted by on May 24, 2011 in Compensation, Moneyville | 0 comments

By Sheryl Smolkin

Read this article and comments at Moneyville.ca

When you were hired, your employer told you would get annual review, but your salary has been stuck in neutral for over two years. You’d like to talk to your manager about the situation, but you are a little nervous about broaching the subject.

What should you do? Liz Wright is a Principal at McDowall Associates Human Resource Consultants says asking for a raise is a three-stage process: pre-negotiation fact-finding; the meeting; and finally, living with the consequences.

Here are her suggestions to guide you every step of the way:


Company performance: Find out if the company is growing and making performance targets or if it is struggling. This will be a reality check as you define what to ask for.

Market information: Do your homework. Discover through networking and public sources what other people are being paid  with your skills and level of experience. Ask former colleagues doing the same job at your company how much they earned.

Make yourself valuable: Take on more responsibility. Demonstrate strong performance. Go above and beyond what is called for. However, do not start overtly competing to the detriment of your peers. This could negate any efforts to be viewed as valuable by your boss.

Know what your boss is thinking: Before you come to the table, get a reading on what your boss thinks of you. If he is not aware of your contributions or does not think highly of you, you will need some time to turn things around.


Stick to the facts: The meeting should be business-like, non-confrontational and all about the facts. Both you and your boss need to be able to save face in order for you to get what you want now or in future.

Bottom line contribution: During negotiations, focus on your achievements and what you have added to the bottom line. Look at productivity, growth in revenue, sales and even savings – particularly if you work for a non-profit company.

State what you want: Sometimes employers go into a meeting with an employee and it is not clear exactly what the employee wants. If you are seeking a salary increase, state a range (5 per cent to 10 per cent) as opposed to an absolute number.

Prepare to be flexible: It is not always about cash. If the cash flow of the company is not as good as it could be and senior management is worried about the snowball effect if other employees also ask for raises, more flex time may be one satisfactory interim solution.

Keep the door open: This is a negotiation. If the answer is no, try to keep the door open. For example, you can ask if there is another upcoming review or if you can continue the discussion in a couple of months when you have had additional time to display good performance.

Living with the consequences:

Be prepared for the consequences: If you are turned down and become disengaged, you may become less valuable to the company. Getting fired may then become a self-fulfilling prophecy. On the other hand, your employer might put more pressure on you to perform once you have identified yourself as a person looking for more money.

Show your appreciation: If you do get what you want, say thank-you. And show you appreciate the salary increase by continuing to maintain the high level of performance that got you your raise.

Be discrete. Don’t boast to co-workers or make loud telephone calls to your spouse or other family members about your good fortune, particularly if you work in an open cubicle.

Furthermore, if you have been offered a better paying position but you’d actually prefer to stay in your current job, talk to your manager before handing in your notice. If you are a highly valued employee, Wright says the odds are quite good that in order to retain you, the organization will match the new offer.


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