How to Secure a Raise at Work

Personal value and self-worth are things we tend to overestimate in ourselves. This comes into play heavily when we think about asking for a raise. There are so many theories and/or tips that are on the internet, it is really difficult to navigate these waters in search of a perfect answer. So rather than giving you a straight answer (because let’s admit, every situation is different), I am going to ask you some questions to reflect on, and then give you some final thoughts.

1. How is your relationship with your boss?

Having a good relationship with your boss makes the conversation of a mid-year raise a lot easier. If there is mutual respect, it can be a good launch pad for the conversation about a raise. If the relationship is a bit rockier, then you may have a hard time approaching, but that leads to the question of why your relationship is tough in the first place.

2. What do your annual reviews look like? 

At my company, we have annual reviews and quarterly touch-point meetings so we always know how we are performing and what we can improve on. If you have been a good performer (above and beyond your job duties), you may have an extra bargaining chip to bring to the table. That is why I always recommend you save all of your extra jobs, duties, and projects in a word or excel file to justify your annual raise or to justify your inquiry regarding a mid-year raise.

3. Do you know how much of a raise you’d like?

What do other people in your field get paid? What’s the industry average? Local average? Glassdoor.com is a good place to look but I wouldn’t lead with this nor would I limit myself to just the one website. Many companies don’t care what others are paying unless you have a job offer from a local competitor, until then, it’s just a good fact to know if you are asked.

Those are important questions to think about but let me leave you with two thoughts. (1) If you are worth the money and you are killing it at work, someone will notice and you will get a raise if they are a good company and if you have good leaders. (2) If you are killing it, like you say you are, and they don’t notice, then that may not be the company you want to work for over the long haul. Asking for a raise is tricky because it’s all about relationships, timing, and merit.

Some people just think because they show up and do their job they should get a raise; I would say that’s not good enough. A raise in pay should equate to a raise in performance, if that isn’t present, a raise shouldn’t be either. Keep in mind, the raise I am referring to here is separate from an annual merit increase, bonus, or profit-sharing. I am speaking of purely a mid-term raise.

Have any tips or stories on what has worked for you to secure a raise? Let me know in the comments or via email!