March 9, 2010 · For Employees
I am frequently asked by many employees, “How do I ask for a raise?” Asking for a raise requires preparation, skill, timing, and a fallback plan. It also can be a mind shift that many people must come to grips with: A pay increase in based on performance, the market, and your skills.
One of the worst things an employee can do is base a request for a raise on personal issues. I even had an employee one year have their 6 year old daughter to ask me, “When are you going to give my mommy more money?” every time she came into my office. I laugh about this now with her mother – she works for another company.
It’s also a bad idea to ask for a raise if the company is having layoffs. No matter what your position in a company is, superstars can get a raise because the company must retain its best performers. If you are not sure that you are among the elite … you’re not.
My friend, Earl Tillman, wrote a book entitled, How to Get a Raise Without Asking. One thing he suggests doing is building your case for a raise by making a list of your accomplishments in the previous year. If, for example, you have out‐performed others in your department, have the figures handy to back up your statement. Remind the boss of the new customers you’ve landed or the current customers you’ve kept from jumping to the competition.
In a past article, I mentioned that you should never be bashful when listing your past accomplishments on a resume. Neither should be shy about listing your accomplishments for an employer. Don’t be boastful either. Just let the numbers speak for themselves. There are many salary surveys available online or at the library, that break down pay by industry and job. They are helpful, but not definitive. You may want to consult your local staffing service. At Etowah Employment, we keep up with local pay rates in the area. A good agent at the staffing service will also steer you in the right direction and, many times, go to bat for a good employee for more money.
Finally, if you ask for a raise and don’t get it, most people walk away. That’s just the first step. Your response should not be whining, sulking or storming out of the office. You should ask your boss, “What do I need to do to get the raise I think I deserve?” If the response isn’t encouraging, it may be time to put a fallback plan into effect and start looking for another job. If things don’t go well with the boss, consider that your performance and attitude could be limiting your pay. If that’s not the case, think about moving on. But don’t threaten to quit on the spot, because your boss may wish you the best of luck as they wave you out the door.
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