We would like to think our employers can spot good work and don’t have to be hassled to pay more for it. After years of getting grades in school based on aptitude, it can be jarring to realize that the workplace doesn’t also operate this way.
Fortunately, many people get a raise each year, just by asking for one. According to PayScale, about 40 percent of employees get a raise annually, after asking for it.
In her recent book Lean In, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg breaks down a great way to ask for a raise, laying it out in just a few simple steps. Here is a brief synopsis of Sandberg’s advice.
Get the timing right
Asking for a raise is not really something you do at the drop of any hat. The most effective approach calls for planning and proper timing. If you’re persistently offering solid results and the company is doing well, it’s totally appropriate to ask for a bigger paycheck. If the business is not doing well, or your productivity is subpar, you should wait until either situation is rectified.
Also, you should avoid asking for a raise when you get a new supervisor. Those requests tend to be viewed as someone trying to take advantage of the new boss. Instead, give your new supervisor the chance to see how valuable you are to the team. Then, they’ll be more receptive to giving you a raise when you ask.
Don’t bring others into it
Trying to use what someone else is making to justify a raise can backfire, and it’s a poor strategy. No two employees are the same, and even if you know what a co-worker is making, you probably aren’t familiar with conditions around their compensation and responsibilities.
Instead, focus on your achievements and the overall impact you have had on the company.
Know the labor market
It’s a good idea to occasionally look around at other opportunities in your field and the salaries offered, regardless of your current level of job satisfaction. Sometimes, you might find out that you’re being paid well, and that might cause you to better appreciate your job and your employer. Other times, you might see that you are being underpaid, and can think about ask for a raise.
Furthermore, it helps to know how much competition is out there for your job. If the unemployment rate is low, and your job requires a specialized skill set – you can be more confident about asking for a raise.
Consider your benefits, perks, and opportunities
You may want to stick it out with a lower salary if other conditions of employment are good, or if there are great opportunities for advancement. If you’re looking to advance, asking for a raise might work against you because it indicates you want to recommit to your current position.
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