To get a raise, here’s how you should approach the boss.

Tips to help you get a pay hike

Our salary is the focal point of our career; it is the most important motivation to stay employed in the first place. But many of us are guilty of not asking for a raise when it is due. If at all we ask for a raise, we often ignore the necessary homework. 

Here are some important points to keep in mind while requesting a pay raise: 

1. Understand and exceed expectations

You can expect a raise only when your work is in line with your organisation’s objective. Many times employees work hard to complete tasks that were not a priority for the manager or the company. At other times employees continue with their daily task without knowing or even discussing what their employer expects from them. So it is very important that you know what are the ‘meets expectations’ and ‘exceeds expectations’ criteria for your job profile. Discuss and agree on the expectations with your superior at the beginning of the appraisal cycle.

2. Set an annual performance plan for yourself

Once you know what your goals are, you should make a plan to achieve your annual targets. If your work is spread over the year, make sure you review your performance periodically. If your work is project- or task-based, plan to accomplish them within realistic deadlines.

3. Show how your performance merits a raise

Your performance should speak for you. It should show you are indispensable to the organisation. While negotiating a raise, you may be asked why you deserve one. If you are able to assign a value to your body of work, it is easier for your appraiser to push your case for a pay hike.

4. Demonstrate your true value

Proving that your performance merits a raise through discussions at the negotiation table may not always be sufficient. The fact that you are valuable to the organisation should be apparent through the year and, more importantly, visible to your seniors. Showing initiative in taking up additional or cross-departmental work, tackling new challenges, demonstrating teamwork, and leadership initiatives are some of the ways by which you can firmly establish your worth in the organisation and ensure a handsome raise.

5. Negotiate, don’t argue

Avoid entering into an argument with your appraiser over your raise. It is often the duty of the appraiser to play the devil’s advocate and question your credibility for a raise. It is important not to be agitated if any of your good work is brushed aside as irrelevant or unimportant. You should show composure and treat the discussion as a business transaction and not make it personal.

6. Don’t bring in personal issues 

Your past work, your prospect as an employee, and your achievements in the workplace should alone ensure your raise. At home, you may have an ailing mother or a child’s education expenses but these shouldn’t come up in your appraisal discussions. Using personal problems as a reason to ask for a raise is not considered professional and could work against you.

7. Be aware of industry standards

Different organisations are known to take different stands when it comes to being a paymaster. You may be underpaid or overpaid depending on where you are working. So it is important to know where you stand as per industry standards. For example, if you know for sure that you are being underpaid considering your role/industry; you can demand a raise with more conviction.

8. Believe in your worth

Sometimes, employees are happy to be merely associated with their employer and consider their job a privilege. It is important to realise that you are as important to the organisation as the job is to you. By underrating yourself professionally, you are harming your growth prospects as a worker. The takeaway: it is important to realise your worth and act accordingly.

9. Don’t delay in raising the need

Hesitating to bring up the discussion of a raise can do no good. It is never too early to inquire about the possibility, at least offline with your line manager. This builds a context in advance and readies the premise for asking a raise when you sit for your appraisal meeting on a later date. The longer you wait, the lower your chances. So try to sense the right opportunity to give an impression to your appraisers that you might ask for a raise when the time comes. Also, note that the chances of getting through the raise are much higher if the organisation/department has done well in the Financial Year. 

10. See the bigger picture

You should always plan your career and association with an organisation for the long term. What happens eventually is a different matter but coming across as a soldier of fortune can dent your growth prospects. Once you are able to fit into the organisation’s scheme of things and the leadership sees it, you are treated with more respect and become more likely to be well-nurtured in the organisation.

As we saw, a little planning and hard work can equip you well to ask for a raise, assuming you are able to maintain clarity, confidence, and honesty in the appraisal negotiations. And in the worst-case scenario, if the company cannot afford a raise you can still explore the possibility of tweaking the salary structure which can raise your salary in hand.  

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