Negotiating A Raise

When you think it is time for a pay raise what should you do? Maybe your last raise was a year ago and you are under the impression that one should be coming soon. There is a fear in the back of your mind, if you ask for a raise the request will be rejected and your employer may get upset at you.
It is good practice management in any business to have a standard pay increase policy that employees are told about when they are hired. Thus, eliminating the issue of when a raise is due and what needs to be done to get it. Many larger corporations have a policy for raises, but most small employers do not.
If an employer does not have such a policy what should an employee do if they feel it is time for a pay increase?  There are 4 key components to think through and document when presenting your case to your employer for a pay increase.
1. Have an understanding of the financial situation the company is in at the time you are requesting a pay review.  You may not know all of the particulars, but you should be able to find out if the business is doing well, is sound, and business has been increasing over the past several months.  Have the business owner and supervisors been happy and talking positively about the business?  These are key indicators that may mean the business is doing well.
2. Know your value to the company.  Have documentation of how you add value; such as adding customers, increasing sales, or contributions that you have made in the structure and organization which have added to the company’s bottom line.  What have you personally done that was up and beyond your normal duties?  List them all so you do not forget when presenting your case.  Is your attitude always great at work?  This does carry weight when asking for a raise.  Have you learned new skills since your last raise that benefit the business?
3. Is there some other compensation that you would be willing to take at this time if a monetary raise is not possible?  Many employers are looking at extra days off or flex hours as substitutes for raises.  Be ready to present this as an option.
4. Research what your job pays with other companies that are similar to yours in size and income. You can find average pay scales at Officeteam and also Payscale.  Be prepared and realistic with what your position is paying.  Do not ask others in your company what they are making.
Once you have all the information gathered and are ready to present it to your supervisor or employer, ask for a meeting time that would work with their schedule to discuss your salary.  By letting them know what you would like to discuss, they can also be prepared with their research.  Surprise salary meetings never go well and usually leave both parties unsettled.
Employees often think that they deserve a raise, but cannot explain why.  Have your case well prepared and be willing to listen to your employer if they do not agree.  If the meeting does not go in your favor at the time presented, ask your employer what you must accomplish to receive a raise, or would they be willing to explore substitute compensations.
If you have done your homework and presented it in a palatable way to your employer, hopefully you will be able to negotiate an agreeable outcome for both parties.
If not, thank your employer for their time and willingness to meet with you.  Go back to doing your job with a good attitude, and think through the process of what your next step should be.  At least you know where you stand and what the future is where you are now.

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